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Over 1,000 singers for ChildAid 2020

BT and ST's virtual concert features more than 1,150 musicians performing across the world

Above: Maestro Kahchun Wong (centre, in black) conducts over 1,000 musicians from 25 countries to perform and sing Beethoven's Ode To Joy.

Over 150 performers singing ChildAid's anthem, A World To Imagine.


ORGANISED by The Business Times and The Straits Times, the ChildAid 2020 concert debuting online on Wednesday night will feature not one but two virtual choirs - and one of them will make history as one of the most international virtual choirs ever assembled.

Led by maestro Kahchun Wong, the Singaporean chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony, the choir comprises over 1,000 singers and instrumentalists from 25 countries including Japan, the US and China. They have come together to perform and sing Beethoven's Ode To Joy, in part to mark the legendary composer's 250th birth anniversary.

The musicians, some of whom were handpicked by the maestro himself, include members of the Chicago Symphony, Dresden Boys Choir, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, National Centre for Performing Arts (China), New York Philharmonic, Nuremberg Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus and Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo.

Each musician recorded and uploaded a performance video of themselves, which were then synchronised and composited by production company Rolton Productions in a painstaking process that took several weeks.

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Maestro Wong says: "At a time when physical borders are more necessary than ever to fight the pandemic, we want to connect the world together through music."

ChildAid 2020 will be a concert like none ever seen in Singapore. It employs cutting-edge technology so you can watch and listen to it in a 360-degree sphere. By moving your viewing device left or right, up or down, or all around, you can view the concert in all directions - as if you are right there in the room with the performers.

The Ambisonics surround sound modulates itself as you move the device, so it's best to watch the concert on a smartphone or tablet, and a pair of headphones or earphones. For an even superior experience, use VR goggles.

Bringing back some of ChildAid's best singers

Meanwhile, the second choir debuting in ChildAid 2020 on Wednesday night comprises over 150 singers performing A World To Imagine, the theme song of ChildAid. Over half of the cast are previous child performers of ChildAid; a few, such as Syakirah Noble, Lewis Loh and Amni Musfirah, have become professional musicians.

ChildAid's artistic director Jeremiah Choy says: "Doing a virtual choir meant that I could bring back some of ChildAid's best singers over the years, to create a lush and rich rendition of our theme song like it's never been sung before."

The two virtual choirs make up the finale of ChildAid 2020, which also features pop stars Nathan Hartono, Benjamin Kheng and Jasmine Sokko, as well as jazz musicians Jeremy Monteiro and Joey Alexander.

The concert raises funds for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which help thousands of children from low-income families pursue the arts, and pay for their lunch and transport fares respectively.

The concert is supported by UOB, UBS, Citi Singapore, Richard Mille and others. The Ode To Joy segment is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the National Arts Council, The Straits Times and others. A longer version of the Ode To Joy segment will debut on July 30 on International Friendship Day.

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