Saturday, July 16, 2011

SLO Children's Choir "Encore" - 15 July 2011

SLO Children’s Choir
With members of the SLO Youth Choir
Conductor: Khor Ai Ming
Assistant Conductor: Cherylene Liew
Pianists: Beatrice Lin, Bertrand Lee

Its perhaps a little ironic to see an ad for August’s Salome on the backcover of the program for this children’s choir concert, but then I suppose it’s a good way to teach young people in these days of equal opportunity that girls can be perverts too!

Anyway, it was heartening to see these kids take on such a long and varied program. True to being members of an opera company, the kids sang and danced onstage for close to 2 hours, delivering almost entirely from memory favourites and lesser-knowns from classic musicals, Hokkien, America and British folksongs, contemporary pieces in French and English and of course, operatic excerpts. (My companion remarked that some of the performers are more teenagers than children, of which I replied that since we as a nation are not producing enough kids to replace the older choir members, the old children will just have to chip in a little longer, just like how we will be working till 65).

Of special interest are four pieces newly commissioned for this concert in celebration of the Choir’s 5th anniversary. Emily Koh’s A Painted Bus starts off sounding like the folksong The Water is Wide, but soon develops into her own optimistic style with overlapping melodic lines suffused with a modern twist. Chen Zhang Yi’s contemplative Island is a melodic piece nonetheless uses adventurous harmonies to tug the heartstrings. Benjamin Lim Yi’s If You Were Coming is a heartfelt love ballad which will probably engage listeners more with repeated listening. Liong Kit Yeng’s After the Rain is a happy xinyao tune that helped the children close the show on a happy note. Their colourful clothes and umbrella-waving brightened up the  stage. Congratulations to the four composers for their good work, and to the kids for making these piecescome to life. Good job!

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