Participating in Sing50 for SG50

End last year, we heeded the call for the audition of 50 pianists to be part of the Sing50 Mega Concert organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times. The hunt was on for 1,000 choir singers, 100 rappers, and 50 pianists and 40 musicians to be part of the 120-strong Metropolitan Festival Orchestra. 

The little boy got selected for the live audition after we submitted the video in November last year.  So on 7th March this year, we went to Steinway studio for the live audition.  I like that the live audition was stringent.  Not only must each candidate have a minimum of ABRSM Grade 5, he/she must be able to play a classical music piece well, and there was also sight reading and each candidate had to play that piece on the spot.  The latter was a real test of ability.

By end March, we received news that AJ was selected, together with 49 other pianists. We later read that there were over 300 pianists who responded to this national search.  Indeed many people wanted to take part in this SG50 celebration!

We have not received any rehearsal schedule yet.  For all that we know, it will be pretty intensive in July and Aug.  It is good to know that many local artists like Stefanie Sun, JJ Lin, Tracy Huang, etc will also be participating in this mega concert (news here). 

The Sing50 mega concert did receive criticism though. Many local musicians, supporters and practitioners had voiced their unhappiness over the fund being used to buy 50 brand new Steinway-designed Lang Lang pianos, yet not paying the performers of the mega concert any sum. Although Steinway had explained that they will be selling these 50 pianos at cost price, it is still a hefty $1.3m. The 50 pianos will subsequently be given to 50 primary and secondary schools. It has been reported that 100 schools have applied for the pianos. But you see, unless it is a music school, most schools cannot afford to maintain a Steinway piano.

I can fully understand the frustrations of these music professionals and practitioners, then why did I still get AJ to participate in the audition? Please hear me out.

AJ is nowhere a professional pianist, he is a young amateur pianist.  How many of these amateur pianists have the opportunity to play in a concert, let alone a mega one? As a young amateur pianist, he needs to be exposed to wide range of music as well as opportunities to perform. So it just make sense that we should go for the audition. Getting paid to perform is the last thing in mind.

This year marks the remarkable SG50, a year we remember and celebrate 50 years of independence.  I am unlikely to see another 50 years of Singapore, so it is an important year to me. It is my nation. It should be important to our younger generation too! I want AJ to remember that the path to independence wasn't easy.  This year we watched quite a few documentary of the early days of Singapore, all with the intention to help him appreciate what Singapore has done for him. 

Should he give back then if there is an opportunity? Certainly yes.  Here is one way he can do.  He can participate in this concert, to make this Sing50 concert a memorable one, not only to him, but to the rest of the Singaporeans as well.  There is a time to reflect what the nation has done for us, there is a time to celebrate the joy of achievement.

So with these 2 reasons, I urged him to participate in this concert.  And I was glad that he was willing to though he has his piano exam in July and I was so happy that he was given the chance to, now that we know he has passed the live audition. 

Would you like to join in the celebration?
Please click here to get the tickets.

Before I end this post, I attached here a piece of contemporary music AJ has learnt by hearing.  It is a piece composed by my multi-talented ex-colleague, Chester Tan, who did not pen down the scores. The original piece is here. I love this piece very much so I asked AJ to listen to it a few times and play by ear. Please enjoy.

Here's the youtube link if you can't view on the blog.


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