Fund launched to nurture knowledge and love of Singapore's musical heritage

A new fund has been created to preserve and promote Singapore's musical heritage. The Sing50 fund was launched on Saturday with an initial purse of $348,000.

It is an initiative that stems from the Sing50 concert that will be held in August to celebrate the nation's Golden Jubilee. Planned to last two hours, the concert at the Singapore Sports Hub will feature iconic popular songs, composers, performers and stories that mark the milestones of music here for the past 50 years since the country gained independence in 1965.

The fund is meant to build on that by introducing local music to the younger generations and the community, and to cultivate in them an appreciation for and love of Singapore music.

The fund will also be used to teach students to sing Singapore songs, and to support the organisation of song competitions and concerts to showcase local vocalists and choral groups.

It was launched at Resorts World Sentosa on Saturday evening by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State (Ministry of Education and Ministry of Communications and Information).

She said in a speech: "Music uplifts the soul and unites people, and at the same time has the unique ability to tell marvellous stories....Music is important to education, and this is why, along with the arts, along with sports and along with PE, the Ministry of Education has been making more and more investments in this area to make sure our students are able to be exposed to as wide a range of the arts as possible."

After the launch of the fund, an audience of more than 1,000 children from primary and secondary schools was treated to the musical Peter Pan - The Never Ending Story. The performance was sponsored by Resorts World Sentosa, and through the Sponsor-A-Child to watch Peter Pan fundraising initiative, 35 companies and individuals donated a total of $68,800 to the fund.

The rest of the fund's initial purse came from the donations of individuals and a dozen companies, including banks, insurance companies and Singapore Press Holdings.

The fund is chaired by Mr Edmund Cheng, deputy chairman of Wing Tai Holdings. It will be managed by arts and cultural organisation The Rice Company, and a board of trustees will also be formed to oversee governance of the fund.

Mr Cheng said in a speech that "through activities supported by the fund, our future generations will be introduced to Singapore music in delightful ways, and build up a sense of affinity and community among ourselves as Singaporeans".

The first initiative by the fund will be to buy 50 Steinway-designed Lang Lang pianos, at $26,000 each, for use at the Sing50 concert on Aug 7, which is being organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times.

After the concert, the pianos will go to 50 primary and secondary schools for music education and choir group practices.

Mr Jeremiah Choy, show director of the Sing50 concert, said that his team is in the process of curating "a valuable collection of Singapore music that articulates our national identity and celebrates our nation's diversity".

"This gives us the opportunity to continue promoting and preserving Singapore music and the stories behind them. The Sing50 Fund will support this endeavour."

Student Marcus Ting, 23, was at the launch of the fund last night. He said: "I think it's important that we preserve and remember the music of the past. As a member of the younger generation, I'm interested to understand how such music has shaped the local music scene today."

lting@sph.com.sg

For more information on the concert, go to www.sing50concert.sg.

To donate to the fund, contact teetong_tan@therice.sg.