GESS50: Terry Moran and the Growth of Music at GESS

Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

In 2006, Terry Moran joined GESS as a music teacher. Back then, the school was located at Bukit Tinggi and Terry had 2 music rooms to work with – one under the teachers’ tower and one above the canteen. GESS was a small school with modest needs.

Soon after though, the school’s population grew tremendously and along with it the need for more space grew. Terry recounts that the space beneath the carpark level had to be cordoned off to make space for a Music Department and the Vocal and Instrumental Programme (VIP) – this programme was started by Terry and he shares more about it later.

While not many people know this, there were also some brief plans back then, in the early 2000s, to build a block between the canteen and the IES (Institute of Engineers) hall which GESS was renting for classes. The plans did not turn to reality. At one point, GESS was even renting space at the Hollandse School located opposite the GESS campus at Bukit Tinggi to accommodate the growing number of students.

The First GESS School Song

While the school grew, there were also other things changing. Prior to Terry’s arrival, a GESS school song was unheard of. He recalls that when he attended his first GESS assembly, he was surprised that there was no school song or national anthem. This got him thinking and before he knew it, he was penning the tune and lyrics to a school song that would bring the community together.

The school song was born from the inspired writing sessions between lessons and at home. The song was first presented at a Board meeting. Terry brought a mobile keyboard to the meeting room and did a demo of the song. The song was undeniably well-received by the small audience of Board of Governors.

Terry, though, realised in that instance that he had made a minor mistake – instead of “here in GESS (German European School Singapore)” he had written it as “here in GES”. He had to go back and correct it but had full confidence that the Board loved it. Jürgen Völker, a teacher from the German Section, then penned the German verse in the song.

Terry describes the school song as such:

“Firstly, the school song is a poem, and if you read through the lyrics, you will see…And it is a story. It is a story of coming to Singapore. It is a story of being at our school and learning…to achieve mighty things basically.”

Soon the Primary School students were all taught the song. The song was then introduced to the rest of the school during a grand presentation with a student and staff orchestra along with which the whole of Primary School sang.

The Full Interview with Terry Moran

Vocal and Instrumental Programme and Instrument With Class Programme

Apart from the school song, Terry also introduced new initiatives such as the Instrument with Class Programme and the Vocal and Instrumental Programme, both of which are ongoing to date and continually fostering a passion for music in students of all ages.

Terry shares that the Vocal and Instrumental Programme could not have taken off without the help of one of the parents – Ms. Jennifer – introduced to him by then Head of Primary School, Bruce Holmes. Jennifer helped get the programme up and running. The programme started with 30 students and within a semester, over 100 students were enrolled in it. As the popularity of the programme grew, just regular recitals did not suffice and eventually the VIP Gold Concert was introduced.

In 2009, Terry started the Instrument with Class prrogramme to make the process of learning music more hands-on and to give every student in Grade 3 a chance to pick up a stringed instrument of interest to them.

“Being the Head of Music and coming up with his mad idea of this 8-week programme, it was a challenge and actually it was a bit of a gamble. And thankfully the gamble paid off. We had our first concert and it was a success and parents loved it.”

In this 16-year relationship with GESS, Terry has poured a lot of love into the school and its music programme and the school is equally fond of his energy, musical genius and creativity. From the many concerts he has made possible with his team of music teachers, to the music treats he has given us whenever he has played the piano during events, there are countless wonderful contributions. It then seems only right that Terry wishes GESS happy birthday by singing a few lines from the school song, but with a little twist.

About the Author

Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Suggested Articles