Musical Organizations at MSJ

By: Staff Writer Didi Wu


MSJ Syncopasians


Jamin Chen, Kathy Liu, Liang-Kuan Lee, Emily Jean, Elliot Suh, Laura Chen, Andy Zhou
Not pictured: Allisa Tran, Brian Chou, Christine Wu

MSJ Syncopasians (Syncos) is an acapella group dedicated to spreading joy through high-quality music. David Wu, Class of 2010 alumnus, founded the group in October 2008. He said that the main reason he created Syncos was “to bring the acapella scene to MSJ.”

The current 10-member ensemble consists of Director Laura Chen and nine others selected based on contribution to vocal balance, ability to blend, stage presence, and love of singing. Syncos started the year off strong, performing “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles as one of the opening acts for the Hookslide Variety Show Concert. Earlier that day, members had given a surprise performance of the same song at the bell tower quad, marking the first of many more planned surprise Friday performances.

The group practices every Saturday and Tuesday for a total of three hours per week. Chen noted this year’s ensemble’s commitment and said that this dedication “binds us together… [and makes Syncos] one of the most fulfilling parts of my life right now.”

Syncos is currently preparing a repertoire of songs to raise money for a portable sound system, which would be used for more surprise Friday performances. The group will also be auditioning for the Multicultural Assembly and performing at various charity concerts.

Syncos has rehearsals at lunch every Tuesday near the far end of the B-Wing and welcomes anyone to come listen. The group can be contacted by e-mailing or messaging Chen on Facebook.


The Songwriter’s Guild


Kai Goodman, Sagar Samantarai, Lynnea Shuck, Hannah Choi

A club that emphasizes creativity and expression through music, The Songwriter’s Guild focuses on the composition, arrangement, and performance of music. According to Secretary Hannah Choi, the Guild was thought to have been disbanded last year because of a misunderstanding. Fortunately, the club has since been restarted and drew approximately 10 new members during its first meeting of the year.

The Guild hopes to teach members the basics of composing by inviting professional coaches to host workshops and helps composers feel confident performing their works. It encourages members to break from traditional genres and explore their own styles.

Choi’s favorite aspect of the group is getting to see others express their own style of music. She said, “

In the future, the Guild will be collaborating with MSJ Smile Train, a chapter of the non-profit organization Smile Train that provides surgeries for children born with cleft lips or palates, to produce a CD comprised of arrangements and original songs, competing in composing contests, and holding a charity concert for members to showcase their works.

Meetings, held on Fridays in E4, are spaced out between every three works to allow time for members to work on compositions. Anyone interested can e-mail the club officers at


MSJ Perfect Noise


Brandon Chen, Justin Lau, Liang-Kuan Lee, Steve Yung, Sagar Samantarai

Out of last year’s Multicultural Assembly performances, one group of performers who blared music out a life-sized car made of PVC pipes and black cloth may be remembered by MSJ students. That group would be Perfect Noise (PN), MSJ’s own beatboxing club.

After conducting a yearbook search, it is believed that PN was founded in 2008 and eventually disbanded a few years afterwards. It became an official club again last school year, in large part through the efforts of Class of 2013 alumnus Kyle Lam. Lam said, “I wanted to create a beatboxing club because I always love doing rhythm- and music-related things… beatboxing is amazing – it’s the purest form of rhythmic self-expression.”

Each meeting, officers, all of whom were part of PN before it became an official club, teach new members how to create and form their own beats and emphasize development of individual technique. According to President Sagar Samantarai, “There’s not a whole lot of difference between just speaking and beatboxing; it’s just emphasis.”

PN will be participating in the Multicultural Assembly, the Charity Fashion Show, and Poetry Slam. The officers hope to introduce as many people to beatboxing as possible and to create a foundation upon which future members can build upon.

Anyone with experience or a passion for beatboxing is welcome to join. PN meets at lunch every Thursday in M4.



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Kevin Liu, Charles Han, Kelly Shi, Anna Hu, Damon Pham, Aimee Xu, Rachel Chen
Not pictured: Yichen Xing

MSJ Visual Arts and Music for Society (VAMS) is a service club that enriches the community through music and visual art. Started in 2012 by Class of 2014 alumnus Richard Liang, the relatively new club has performed at various places such as senior centers and the Oakland Halloween Carnival.

One of the group’s most noteworthy events was last year’s benefit concert, Hope for Haiyan, a collaboration with IrvingtonHigh School students. Proceeds were donated to UNICEF to further Haiyan relief efforts. VAMS hopes to hold a minimum of four benefit concerts this year and will also continue performing at senior centers and other locations to serve the community.

Members play a mix of instruments, from the piano to the French horn to the Korean drum. Members choose their own set pieces and can play solos or collaborate with others in ensemble pieces.

The club meets monthly on Thursdays in P25. Join its Facebook group, MSJ VAMS, or e-mail for updates and more information.


Mission Guitar


Justin Seo, Jason Stiltz, Ricky Chu, Vincent Ding
Not pictured: Lara Khamisy

Originally called Guitar Mundo, Mission Guitar underwent a name change last year. The club provides a comfortable environment for guitarists and guitar enthusiasts and teaches and performs at various locations.

Mission Guitar holds jam and tutor sessions throughout the year. President Ricky Chu feels that this is one of the unique aspects of the club because members care for each other and often spend time giving private lessons to members without experience who wish to learn how to play the guitar.

The club is planning performances at senior centers and will be collaborating with The Songwriter’s Guild to compose songs. It will also be holding songwriter workshops and recording sessions.

One of Mission Guitar’s most memorable events was this year’s Freshman Orientation Day. Members played music through the club’s speaker system and provided accompaniment music as singers and musicians from other clubs performed along with them.

Chu said, “We’re looking for responsible and hardworking individuals who we believe can carry on out club and improve it in the future.” All guitar enthusiasts are welcome to join. The club can be found on the Facebook group, Mission Guitar 2014-15.


MSJ Impromptu


Impromptu is a club that encourages students to share their passion for music with each other and the community. The club performs monthly at senior centers, hospitals, churches, and elementary schools to fundraise or to simply spread their love for music. Members play a wide variety of instruments, including the cello, oboe, trumpet, guitar, and Chinese harp.

This year, Polytonality, a music organization with members in MSJ and three other schools, will be collaborating with Impromptu for all concerts. President Stella Han said that this will allow members to play in a larger group of people, creating more vibrant performances.

Han felt that the best part about Impromptu was that it allowed the performers to form connections with the senior citizens and other people they played for. She said, “We feel great just watching [listeners]… swaying their bodies along to our performances.”

The club currently has two concerts planned for the year. A Christmas and New Year’s concert will be held from 3:30PM to 4:30PM on December 1 at Emeritus Senior Living. It will also host a fundraising concert sometime in April.

The group can be found on Facebook at MSJ Impromptu and can be e-mailed at

1 Comment on "Musical Organizations at MSJ"

  1. an-inquisitive-fellow-student | December 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Reply

    why isn’t the vams picture showing?

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