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ChildAid's through train down memory lane raises over S$2 million

Dick Lee's showcase of pop music through 60 years had something for everyone

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(From left) Choo Kee Siong, managing director and head of enterprise banking, commercial banking, at UOB, President Halimah Yacob and Mr Fernandez at the ChildAid gala night and cheque presentation held at the Resorts World Sentosa Theatre on Monday.

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ChildAid performers singing Bring It All Back by S Club 7, the Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way and the Spice Girls' Wannabe.

Singapore

FUN came in all eras at the 14th edition of ChildAid. The charity concert on Monday took audiences - including President Halimah Yacob - through 60 years of pop history, beginning with songs such as Fun Fun Fun by The Beach Boys (1964) and ending with Pharrell William's Happy (2013).

From the get-go, the concert organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times had young performers bouncing giddily in bell-bottoms and psychedelic skirts, letting the older segments of the audience relive their memories through bright, innocent numbers such as Simon Says and The Clapping Song.

The concert then swirled into the 1980s and 1990s - the longest and most popular segment of the night, judging by the whoops and claps - with hits by pop legends Madonna, George Michael and Joan Jett, among others.

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As it grooved into the 2000s, the music became more R&B-inflected.

Performers wore braided hair and sleek black jackets and growled "I'm a survivor", Destiny's Child-style. Self-empowering songs such as Christina Aguilera's Beautiful and Meghan Trainor's I Love Me also reflected an increasingly individualistic era.

For each audience member though, the through train down memory lane carried a favourite moment and song, making the concert at Resorts World Sentosa especially accessible for many.

The ChildAid 2018 creative concept was produced and overseen by 62-year-old musician Dick Lee, who is himself a child of the 1960s when pop first flourished.

He said: "Most of the kids in the show know the music of their generation, but not what came before. So I wanted them to learn something new from the show, while at the same time performing something familiar for their parents and grandparents."

By the end of the night, the bright and effervescent concert had raised S$2,057,237 for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

The former provides arts training for artistically gifted but financially needy kids, while the latter provides lunch and transport money to similarly disadvantaged kids.

Top sponsor United Overseas Bank donated S$1 million, while Citi Singapore gave S$730,337.

Porsche Asia Pacific and Stuttgart Auto contributed S$111,900, while Tote Board as well as Suntory Beverage & Food Asia donated S$100,000 each. Resorts World Sentosa provided the venue.

On stage, Madam Halimah presented a token of appreciation to all the sponsors and partners. It was the first time that she had watched a ChildAid concert as the guest-of-honour, together with her husband Mohamed Abdullah Alhabshee.

In a foreword written for the concert's e-booklet, she noted: "The annual charity concert is a good example of corporations, the community and individuals collaborating to support young talents who are coming together to do good … The spirit of caring and sharing starts from a young age, and from within the community."

Also present at the concert were Singapore Press Holdings' chairman Lee Boon Yang, CEO Ng Yat Chung, Deputy CEO Anthony Tan, editor-in-chief of English/Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times Warren Fernandez, and The Business Times editor Wong Wei Kong.

Next year's edition is set to be special, as it marks 15 years of the concert that has so far raised more than S$18 million for the two charities.