Forget 'atas' skills, but passion is a must for Sing50 concert

This article was published in The Sunday Times on 7 December 2014.

When it comes to looking for people to perform next year’s Sing50 mega concert, singing and musical skills are certainly necessary. But a passion for music is more important, say judges for the auditions.

The concert, to be held at the National Stadium on Aug 7, is inviting performers to join some of Singapore’s biggest music stars on stage in front of up to 45,000 spectators.

It needs 1,000 choir singers, 100 rappers, 50 pianists and 40 musicians who will be part of the 120-strong Metropolitan Festival Orchestra.

The concert is presented by The Straits Times and The Business Times as part of the SG50 celebrations to mark Singapore’s 50th jubilee.

Creative director Jeremiah Choy said: “We are looking for passion and commitment, people who want to be part of this historic event.”

Applicants are invited to upload videos of themselves performing, to the Sing50 website ( Those shortlisted will attend live auditions.

Mr Choy, the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra’s music director, Associate Professor Chan Tze Law, its general manager Low Jia Hua and music consultant Phan Ming Yen will choose the amateur musicians who will be part of the orchestra.

On the judging panel for pianists, who will play on 50 Steinway grand pianos, are Steinway Gallery Singapore’s general manager Celine Goh, Mr Choy and Prof Chan.

Choral conductor and director Francis Liew, who will judge the choir auditions with vocal coach Gregory Chen, told The Sunday Times who he hopes will step forward: “They must enjoy singing and making music together with others.

“We’re not looking for people who have “atas” (advanced) qualifications in music, we want the concert to be inclusive and reach out to the masses, and we want people who have the enthusiasm to celebrate a momentous event on a scale like the Sing50 concert.”

The rappers will be selected by veteran entertainer and producer Najip Ali, chief execurive of events and entertainment company Music & Movement Lim Sek and choreographer Zaini Tahir.

Rehearsals are expected to start in May and intensify from the later part of July.

Sing50 will feature prominent artists performing popular songs from the past five decades. The selection is under way and members of the public will also have a say in deciding the final list.

The concert is being produced by non-profit arts and culture organisation The Rice Company, whose chief executive officer Colin Goh calls it “the biggest part ever of Singapore’s music and musicians”.

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