100 schools keen to apply for pianos from Sing50 Fund

A new fund created to preserve and promote Singapore's musical heritage has received an enthusiastic response, with about 100 schools applying to receive a piano from it.

The Sing50 Fund launched last Saturday is raising money from private individuals and companies to provide resources such as musical instruments, instructors and learning material to schools and students.

Part of the money will be used to buy 50 Steinway-designed Lang Lang baby grand pianos at cost for schools.

One school hoping to receive a piano is Princess Elizabeth Primary School in Bukit Batok, and principal Moliah Hashim already knows what she would do with it.

She plans to place the piano in the school hall for pupils and teachers to use.

"Music is a core part of our curriculum and we are very particular about the quality of our musical instruction," she said.

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"Some of our pupils have never played such a piano, or heard the beautiful sound that such a piano can make. Playing on such a piano is also about teaching children the value of craftsmanship, quality and engineering, and also how to respect such a resource."

Mrs Clara Lim-Tan, principal of Yu Neng Primary School in Bedok North, said having a piano will "open up many learning opportunities, such as recess recitals or lunchtime concerts by pupils, staff or invited musicians".

The fund, which has raised $348,000 so far, stems from the Sing50 mega concert co-organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times to celebrate the nation's Golden Jubilee. It will be held at the National Stadium on Aug 7.

The concert promises a memorable evening featuring popular songs, performers and composers from the past 50 years.

One highlight is a performance featuring 50 pianos. The organisers thought it would be worthwhile to give the pianos to schools after the concert ends, and the Sing50 Fund was created to raise money for this purpose and other music outreach efforts.

Mr Danny Loong, chief creative director of Timbre Group which runs Timbre Music Academy and several restaurants featuring live music, applauded the fund's creation.

He said: "It's good to see music support geared towards students and schools, and starting music appreciation and application young."

The fund is governed by a board of trustees headed by Mr Edmund Cheng, deputy chairman of Wing Tai Holdings. The board will evaluate the schools' applications based on their current music programmes, resources and plans.

Contributions so far have come from a dozen corporations, three individual donors and donors of the Sponsor-A-Child: Peter Pan The Never Ending Story fund-raising project.

One corporate donor is Singapore Post. Mr Woo Keng Leong, its senior executive vice-president and head of postal services, said: "We appreciate the need for rejuvenation while preserving our rich heritage. Engaging the youth through our musical heritage is a brilliant initiative."

Mr Victor Khaw, general manager of welding company Allalloy Dynaweld, said the company wanted to contribute to help preserve Singapore's musical heritage.

"It's nice to be able to preserve our music through schools, so that it will be part of Singaporeans for a long, long time."

lting@sph.com.sg

For more information on the Sing50 concert and Sing50 Fund, go to www.sing50concert.sg