Lorong Boys bringing cheer to night commuters

Lorong Boys bringing cheer to night commuters
Lorong Boys' (from left) Gabriel Lee, David Loke and Jonathan Shin from the National University of Singapore performing on the MRT train on 5 May 2014.

Commuters on the MRT can look up from their mobile screens tonight, as they are in for a musical treat.

Calling themselves the Lorong Boys, a group of National University of Singapore (NUS) students will be playing their musical instruments along the Circle Line and East-West Line. They plan to start around 10.30pm from Clementi station.

This is an encore of sorts for the group of classical musicians, after an online video of their impromptu performance on the MRT last Mondaywent viral.

Jamming to commuters - the eclectic ensemble play everything from classical to pop - was a spur-of-the-moment decision for three of the group's members. After playing at a seniors' party in school that evening, they decided to, quite literally, bring their music to the people.

No, they were not drunk. One of them, Jonathan Shin, 22, who plays the piano and guitar, says they were inspired by trips to places such as New York, where members of the public sometimes join street musicians in their performances and have fun together.

"We have always wanted to bring more spontaneity to Singapore," he says.

The other members of Lorong Boys are David Loke, 23, Gabriel Lee, 26, Joachim Lim, 25, and Rit Xu, 25. Loke and Lee both play the violin, while Lim plays percussion, and Xu, the flute.

The five are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree at NUS and are expected to graduate between July and next June.

The video of their performance has been shared about 1,488 times, with 3,042 likes on Facebook. Most online responses were positive although a few raised concerns that they might have disturbed other commuters.

Last week's video was also shared on SMRT's Facebook page, though with a reminder that safety comes first.

"We really enjoyed the wonderful performance," the train operator said in the post. "We're glad to see that so many of our passengers enjoyed themselves as well."

Lorong Boys did not expect their video to go viral.

"People tell us that it is a good marketing strategy," quips Loke.

The members first met when they took the same jazz performance module in NUS last year, but started practising together only in preparation for a school talent contest in February.

They eventually took first place for the contest, Sparkz, and have continued jamming together around University Town. Fans can look forward to more music videos they plan to produce and put on YouTube, says Shin.

Of tonight's repeat performance on the MRT, they do not have a fixed setlist or train route, but will likely perform on the East-West Line and Circle Lineagain.

Xu is the only one of them sitting out tonight's performance, having just returned from an overseas trip.

"We are not going with any expectations," says Shin of tonight's showcase. "We're just a group of boys hanging out."

This article was published on May 14 in The Straits Times.

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