Gregory Chen

Music Director

It’s such a gift to be alive and to be ourselves.  For many of us, life begins at the end of each day.  As the constant glare of daylight softens and eventually retreats, so do our deliberately-crafted public personas.  Temporarily relieved of the complexities of work, we emerge from hiding, giving voice to our true selves and moving to a more natural, organic pulse.  Within those minutes of twilight, we reclaim our personal room - room to reflect, room to repair and re-arrange, room to make sense of the dissonances and complicated cross-rhythms within the harmonies that resonate with our tuneful aspirations.

But art isn’t easy.  We are only too aware that it all takes a steely will and blazing passion, lots of time outside of our day-jobs - and even more energy and money - leaving a little less of everything that is entitled to our friends, family and partners.  So, we pay tribute to your unstinting faith In us and there is no gift more fitting or worth offering than our true selves.

So, tonight, instead of pretending we can read the market to balance our books, we dig into our lives and memories of many people and places; flights of fancy and lusty longings; troubling times and intense indecision; crushing crises and valiant victories.  More than half of the content tonight has been selflessly and collectively curated by our current members as well as alumni. Whether it is Ian Lee’s wistfully emotional Mandopop serenade, Ernest Thio’s eerily menacing interpretation of movie music or Ng Weiyi’s reflective yet exuberant anthem, they have spoken earnestly on our behalf as individuals and as a community.  Watch and listen to Fauzi Azzhar’s debut work and feel his finger on the throbbing pulse of dance music.  However, all the remaining aspects of production - wardrobe, choreography have been helmed by our members.

Tonight, we also pay tribute to the innovation that is possible with legacy and heritage that scores of alumni have built in the years before us.  Reacquaint yourselves with the new sound of founder-director, Jason Ong, whose personal artistry and empathy for the new Chorus has deepened, gained confidence and offered us all much food for thought.  For our alumni in the audience, we have thrown in two songs and several dance moves from previous seasons that resonate with our members, young and not-so-young alike.  We trust that you like our interpretations and identify with our dreams but secretly hope that the dusky hall will embolden your desire to sing (and dance?) along with us too.  Meanwhile, the well-worn format and flow of our concert has been turned on its head.  We have even drawn strength from the tragic turnover each year to recruit and are relieved that the average age has gone down by a decade.  Or thereabouts.

Most of all, we draw courage from those stories from abroad and bring them back to support the next wave of homegrown talent.  Fall in love and soak in the lush, sophisticated charm with Julian Wong’s Dream A Little Dream, even as he playfully melds together the emerging musical traditions of 1930s America.  In fact, excepting a lone foreign import, everything you hear tonight has been made in Singapore and we are privileged to premiere these brand-new arrangements for male voice choirs.  Thanks also to Welton Seah, newcomer Chase Lim and the trusty crew of NAFA’s Lee Foundation Theatre for lighting us and working with our sound as well as Claire Tan and her team for running the front-of-house and bar operations.  Because of all of you, we and our audience have much more that we can enjoy and take pleasure in your company and hope to do justice to your talent and effort.

We foresee more change and growth for the future.  We are proud to have performed to an international audience of choristers in Taipei (2015) and Seoul (2017), forged new friendships, shared stories, been moved by their struggles and also moved them with our hearts and voices.  We plan to reunite with them in Japan in 2019 but are also considering invitations to joint concerts and exchanges that will take place in various cities in Asia, Europe and New York City up till 2021.

Until then, here we are, once again, singing and dancing for our lives about our lives.

Gregory Chen

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