Students’ Take: Peanut Butter ‘n’ Jam 2022: Organising Committee’s Perspective

By Sudarshan Thirumalai, Head of Peanut Butter ‘n’ Jam 2022 Committee, Class of 2025 

Before I begin narrating how Peanut Butter ‘n’ Jam (PBnJ) came to be, I would like to thank the LKCMedicine Students’ Medical Society’s Programmes Committee head Lim Rong, Arts & Cultural Committee head Jing Yang, my Sub-committee heads Damian, Zhan Bo and Yuxuan as well as all committee members for making this event possible.

PBnJ this year was held on 13 August at the Ong Tiong Tat & Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. PBnJ is the flagship Arts & Cultural Committee event for students, faculty, and alumni to come together for a night to enjoy an evening of performances by their peers and colleagues.  

As Head of the PBnJ committee, I can share that organising this year’s event was a huge logistical challenge. Initially slated for April 2022, we started planning in September 2021. There were numerous logistical hurdles that had to be overcome to even begin planning. COVID restrictions were still quite stringent at that time and we had to explore different ways to accommodate as many people as possible while still adhering to guidelines. We even considered having a hybrid concert at one point.

Eventually, we narrowed our venue down to the Nanyang Auditorium at NTU, the Clinical Sciences Building's Multi-Purpose Hall, and the Ong Tiong Tat & Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium, which would be split into zones of 50 people. 

While the Nanyang Auditorium was a venue capable of holding a grand concert, it felt too formal and was less accessible for those not staying in NTU. We felt that although the Multi-Purpose Hall was the traditional venue for PBnJ, the space would be too limited to accommodate many audience members with the five people per group restrictions. Eventually, we chose the Ong Tiong Tat & Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium. While we were worried that it might feel too formal, the decorations, performers and audience gave the venue a fun and light-hearted atmosphere during the event.

Our next challenge was planning the event itself. Due to the two-year hiatus, none of us had experienced a PBnJ ourselves. We therefore drew inspiration from the previous years and adapted it to fit our current circumstances. It was from our seniors’ planning that we learned to engage the NTU Concert Engineers (CEs) for PBnJ. 

The CEs were invaluable, being incredibly accommodating and hardworking, staying in school until 11.20pm on the night before the event to set up the equipment and reporting the next day at 7.30am to prepare for the day. We would not have had nearly as good a concert as we did without their help. 

Most of the planning had happened in early 2022. However, with a month or two to go to April, the restrictions started easing up. Suddenly, we could hold the concert on a much bigger scale, but with much less time to plan it. As such, we decided to hold the concert at the start of the academic year instead, with the added benefit that we could invite the incoming freshmen to attend and participate.  

By all accounts, the event went as smoothly and spectacularly as anyone could have hoped. Audience members were mesmerised by the many talented musicians, singers, dancers, and magicians from LKCMedicine who put up a total of 16 performances.

As the curtains came down, it was really gratifying to hear the words of thanks and compliments from both the performers and the audience, and to know that everyone had a great time attending the event. I look forward to seeing what the next committee will do next year!