Friday 17 October 2014

Sing50 mega concert of iconic S'pore songs to mark 50th year

Sing50 show to feature tunes from 1960s till now
By Eddino Abdul Hadi, Music Correspondent, The Straits Times, 16 Oct 2014

SINGAPORE'S most iconic songs will come to the fore in a mega concert at the National Stadium on Aug 7 next year.

Sing50, as the show is called, commemorates the country's 50th anniversary and will feature local artists performing 50 songs in various genres and the four official languages.

While the songs and artists have not been finalised, tunes picked for the night's programme must have been popular or had an impact here between the 1960s and the present.

Tickets will cost $10 or $20 each and will be available through Sports Hub Tix at a later date.

The creative director of Sing50, theatre veteran Jeremiah Choy, says the concert is a celebration of the Singapore stories told through local songs popular in the past 50 years. "These specially selected songs represent the milestones in the music scene in Singapore and represent the journey of the average Singaporean. Through Sing50, we want to reminisce with the older generation the songs that they grew up with. We also want to introduce to the younger generation these songs that resonate so much with the history of Singapore."

Chosen songs will include tunes written, popularised or performed by Singapore residents. As far as possible, they will be performed at Sing50 by the original artists, while the audience will be encouraged to sing along with the musicians.

Sing50, expected to draw up to 45,000 spectators, will take place on a massive stage that is able to accommodate a 1,000-strong choir, 50 grand pianos and a 120-strong orchestra. It is presented by The Straits Times and The Business Times; supported by SG50, the official initiative in charge of drawing up celebrations to mark Singapore's 50th birthday next year; and produced by non-profit arts and culture organisation The RICE Company.

The organising committee, co-chaired by The Straits Times deputy editor Alan John and The Business Times editor Alvin Tay, will decide on the list of 50 songs together with a panel made up of professionals from the music industry and focus groups. The public will also have a say in the selection of songs via a method to be announced soon.

Local music fan Foo Say Keong, 39, a design lecturer, thinks the concert is a great idea but hopes that less mainstream genres, such as local indie music and artists will also be represented. "It would be really great if the organisers could include iconic local indie songs, or even better, get home-grown acts from different genres to cover one another's songs. Imagine Stefanie Sun singing an Oddfellows song or Dick Lee singing The Stoned Revivals."

Dr Edmund Lam, chief executive and director of the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore, likes the idea that the concert could be one massive sing-along session. He says that getting such a large audience to sing local songs along with Singapore artists is unprecedented.

"Over the years, we have managed to nurture among Singaporeans... a love of local music and singing, and through this cultivated a greater sense of togetherness. This event will serve as a strong testimony to the power of music to transcend cultural differences and unite us in a common identity. One challenge... is to determine a line-up of songs that are top favourites among Singaporeans."

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