Costumes set the stage

ST 20131125 CHILDAID 3935371m

A power-packed team of industry professionals and corporate partners will help rev up the audience and make the young performers of next month's ChildAid look and sound good on stage.

Moe Kasim, owner of costume boutique Moephosis Concepts in Joo Chiat Road, is back for the third time as its costume designer.

On the outfits for this year's carnival-themed concert, the 43-year-old says: "It's more colourful. There'll be more things to see."

In a first for the annual charity event, he is creating costumes for roving mascots - in the shape of musical instruments - who will appear before the shows on Dec 6 and 7. These special suits will be donned by staff from Marina Bay Sands (MBS), the concert's official venue partner, while some of MBS' employees will volunteer as ushers.

As for what performers will wear on stage, Moe says: "They're not ordinary clothes, unlike previous years, which were more streetwear."

This year's 130- strong cast of young people includes gymnasts and aerial acrobats, along with musicians, vocalists and dancers, backed by a 33-piece orchestra.

The veteran stage costume designer lets on that for this year's show, different colour themes will be used for the various concert segments titled Carousel, Hearts, Ferris Wheel and Masquerade.

He says: "I always believe in giving back to society. I don't mind doing it for the kids."

The concert, now into its ninth edition, raises money for two children-related funds: The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund helps students from low-income families pay for transport to school and meals at recess, while The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, a programme under The Old Parliament House, provides lessons in music or the arts for underprivileged children and teens.

Another familiar face volunteering his services is Mr Randy Chan, 43, principal architect of architecture firm Zarch Collaboratives. He is stage designer for ChildAid for the third time and will be assisted by colleagues Alexander Seno, 53, and Clara Yee, 24.

For last year's ChildAid theme, The Electric Edition, Mr Chan's stage design incorporated fluorescent tubes, while for ChildAid 2011's Friendship And Hope theme, he designed a stage that looked like an open book.

This year's design is inspired by circus imagery, so the audience will get to see life-size cardboard animals, such as lions and elephants.

His plan for a carousel on stage fell through, however, because he could not find the size he wanted. Instead, the audience will get to see one - through multimedia projections - on the stage of the 1,680-seat Sands Theatre.

This year, MBS is donating $50,000 to ChildAid on top of providing the venue and getting its staff involved. MBS president and CEO George Tanasijevich, 52, says that ChildAid "aids us in fulfilling our responsibilities as a good corporate citizen on many levels".

Meanwhile, more than a dozen companies are providing their products or services pro bono or at reduced rates. Among them, production and gear company The Show Company is providing equipment for the stage set, BMC Music Centre is providing some of the musical instruments, Keppel Reit is loaning a Steinway piano it bought previously for charity fundraising, while Steinway Gallery is providing a piano, too.

Ms Celine Goh, 41, general manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore, says of Steinway's corporate social responsibility efforts and Child- Aid: "Both share the same goal to provide young artists in Singapore with an opportunity to perform, to communicate and to make friends through making music."

Performing on the pianos this year will be Japanese guest pianist Ryuhi Arai, 12, and young local pianist Pung Rae Yue, 10, who will perform a concerto for two pianos.

Rae Yue, a Primary 4 pupil at Poi Ching Primary School, says: "I am very excited as this is my first time playing with an orchestra and another pianist. I am really looking forward to it."

ChildAid is jointly organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, with Citi Singapore and HSBC as its main sponsors. For details, go to www.straitstimes.com/childaid or www.facebook.com/childaid