Author Archives: James

A visit to Singapore Esplanade

The 3 of us from Theatre Newington visited Singapore last week for a performance at Singapore Esplanade.  During the visit, thanks to our friends, Chong Meng who offer a great hospitality at his home at Seaside Residences.

About the Show: 5trings

We have enjoyed the show very much. To give a short introduction, is about 5 outstanding Singapore Chinese Orchestra musicians present acclaimed works by Hu Deng Tiao, the late composer who established the silk string quintet performance format.

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Boldly incorporating Western string ensemble playing techniques while retaining the form of the traditional Chinese ensemble, this quintet features five traditional Chinese string instruments—erhu, pipa, yangqin, liuqin and guzheng.

We have enjoyed elegant and lively quintet pieces such as A Joyful Night, Martial Arts in the Farmland, Three Variations on the Yangguan Pass and more. The SCO Silk String Quintet comprises Lin Hock Siang (erhu), Zhang Li (liuqin/zhongruan), Qu Jian Qing (yangqin), Zhang Yin (pipa) and Xu Hui (guzheng).

About Singapore Chinese Orchestra

Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO), inaugurated in 1997, is Singapore’s only professional national Chinese orchestra. SCO, made up of more than 80 musicians, occupies the Singapore Conference Hall, which is a national monument. With Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as its patron, SCO takes on the twin role of preserving traditional arts and culture and establishing its unique identity through the incorporation of South-east Asian cultural elements in its music.

Below is the first video of the video series introducing the Chinese Orchestra and music tradition:

SCO has impressed a broadening audience with its blockbuster presentations and is fast establishing itself around the world. Well-known for its high-performance standards and versatility, SCO has performed at numerous prestigious events such as the World Economic Forum and International Summit of Arts Council in 2003, and the 2006 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meeting.

With its vision to be a world-renowned people’s orchestra, SCO widens its outreach by performing regularly at various national parks, communities and schools. SCO also commissions its own compositions and organised the Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition (SICCOC) in 2006, 2011 and 2015 respectively. The competition aims to promote compositions that incorporate music elements from Southeast Asia, also known as “Nanyang music”.

In 2012, SCO organised Singapore’s first 23-day National Chinese Orchestra Marathon, a spectacular feat that drew the participation of 31 local Chinese orchestras which participated with over 44 performances and an audience of 20,000. On 28 June 2014, SCO created history through the second instalment of Our People Our Music by creating two Guinness World Records and three Singapore Book of Records with 4,557 performers at the National Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub. It is with this vision that SCO continues to inspire, influence, educate and communicate through its music.

Music School in Singapore

During the visit, we are so lucky to be able to meet Jayden, the co-founder of Music Mood, one of the music schools in Singapore. We shared our opinion on music and arts and he also shared his vision in making the arts accessible for everyone there.

He is so driven by his mission to entertain, engage, educate and inspire through the arts. You should also like the Music Mood facebook page. I would like to end this post by one of his quotes:

As a team of dedicated arts professionals who are also arts advocates, we recognise that everyone matters and that every single role is important. We aim to continue inspiring new musicians and cultivating the arts scene.

PS: we really enjoyed the ride at Singapore East Coast park as well! The tourist who are heading there be sure to check it out.

Proper Etiquette When Watching Broadway

Image result for Watching BroadwayIf you are a newbie in watching Broadway, it is already expected that you are not too familiar with the things that you should and should not do. Commonly, you are going to be concerned about your outfit and if there are going to be some refreshments that will be served but did you ever think about how you should act while you are there?

Things You Should DO

  1. Do turn off your cellphone while the play is going on.

It is recommended that even before the play or the musical starts, you should turn off your phone because this might interfere or distract other people in the same theater. You may even disrupt the performance of the artists. You might think that you should put your phone in vibrate mode but the people near you will hear the vibration of your phone.

  1. Do cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

You will be in close proximity with a lot of people who are also watching Broadway. You do not want them to be exposed to viruses and bacteria just because you have coughed or sneezed. Make sure that you have your handkerchief with you too.

  1. Do let your true feelings guide you in what you do.

Why do you think do people stand up and applause during a show? This is because something has been done so well that people just have to show their appreciation. This is not obligatory so if you did not appreciate the performance so much, do not give in to peer pressure and just remain in your seat.

Things You Should NOT DO

  1. Do not sing along to the songs that will be sung.

You may be tempted to sing along especially if some of the songs are your favorites. Remember that the people who are singing on Broadway have gone through auditions and can really carry tunes that you might not be able to do.

  1. Do not eat during the show.

You are recommended to eat before you watch the show so you will feel comfortable. Eating while you are watching the show can be distracting for the rest of the audience. People who are near you will surely feel annoyed if you are going to munch your food throughout the whole show.

You can learn more about proper etiquette when you watch this:

This is already something that you should know but if in case you forget, do not do anything during the show that is not related to the show itself. Now is not the right time to check out your home loan calculator Singapore. You are also not supposed to sleep while the show is going on. Behave appropriately and you will seem like a regular Broadway watcher.

How to Be More Appreciative of the Arts

There is a big possibility that you are having trouble with appreciating artworks because you do not know what to look for. You should start seeing it in an entirely new light. It is different from music wherein you can just find Violin Teachers from The Happy Violinist to gain an appreciation for people who play the violin well.

Even if you do not have any degree that is related to art, you know that you can see that the artworks are still different from each other. You have to understand that there are different periods wherein artworks were made. You may appreciate certain works of art depending on when the painting was created. There are some qualities that can make them look the same. It may be the style of the painting or the colors that were used. You can learn more details about art when you check this out:

Abstract or Realistic

Some artworks are abstract and you have to get a feel of what the painting is trying to convey so that you can understand what it is trying to say. Yet there are also instances when the painting is realistic. The moment that you see it, you know what it is. There are some elements in the painting that you just have to look at more so that you will get the whole feel of the artwork.

The Artist

You will realize that there are some paintings that are easier to appreciate depending on the artist. There are some artists who are naturally good and there are also some artists who have unique styles as compared to the others.

Where the Art is Located

While most artworks are painted on canvas and are displayed at galleries or some houses and museums, there are some artworks that are placed on churches and also the various street walls. For example, there are areas in different parts of the world wherein street painters take time to decorate walls well. You may appreciate this type of modern art more than others.

The mood of the artwork that you are going to check out will always be different. This is the same with violin music. There will be days when kids violin lessons will teach how to play in a fast manner and how to play slowly. These different things will make a huge difference.