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Concert review: Chinese Orchestra celebrates youth in record-breaking mega-concert

Published on Jun 29, 2014 10:10 AM

For years to come, this concert by the Singapore Chinese Orchestra on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the newly completed National Stadium and Sports Hub will be popularly referred to as the "Mega-Concert". In terms of numbers involved in performing live music and sheer magnitude, there have been few equals.

In 1978, a choir of 4,000 sang under the direction of the late Paul Abisheganaden at the Billy Graham Crusade, while a combined chorus of over a thousand from Singapore, Australia and Scandinavia performed Handel's Messiah with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra in 1988.

Both events were held in the old National Stadium, scene of Singapore's football triumphs and home of the Kallang Roar, a venue where the nation also greeted Pope John Paul II and pop icon Michael Jackson. Fond old memories of those escapades and the ubiquitous "drinks, keropoh and kwa-chee" linger, but the new National Stadium with the world's largest domed roof is a sight to behold. A first concert there had to be equally memorable.

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra is no stranger to mass participation concerts having previously staged a mega-concert of a smaller scale with 2,400 performers at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2004. This evening's numbers would healthily surpass that as it involved no less than 128 school and community Chinese ensembles and choirs, including several groups from Johore and Sabah.

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