Getting ready for ChildAid

He loves tinkling the ivories and wants to help other children get the same opportunities in life. Hence 16-year-old Shawn Loh decided to perform at the ChildAid charity concert this year.

The Secondary 4 student at Tanjong Katong Secondary School, who has played the piano since he was five, is active in community service, such as at old folks' homes.

"Now instead of just assisting the elderly, I have the chance to help people my age - to help them enjoy a similar quality of life and not worry about not having enough to eat," he said.

Shawn and three of his close friends are part of a piano ensemble called Animato Quad, which auditioned for the concert with an "eight hands" piece by Albert Lavignac in which the four pianists - with eight hands in total - performed different parts in the piece while seated beside one another at a single piano.

They are among some 120 performers - ranging from emcees and vocal and instrumental soloists to groups such as ITE That Acapella Group and circus arts group Circus In Motion. They will perform for a good cause at the ChildAid 2013 concert to be held on Dec 6 and 7.

A welcome briefing for the performers was held last Saturday morning at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands. This was followed by a key-taking session to find out the singers' vocal ranges and a tour of the Sands Theatre to familiarise them with the performance venue.

Addressing the performers, Mr Alvin Tay, 57, editor of The Business Times and organising chairman of this year's event, said: "We want people with not only the talent but also the heart to do something meaningful for their less- privileged peers."

Rehearsals begin next month and performers will go through coaching sessions to refine their technique before taking the stage at the 1,680-seat theatre on Dec 6 and 7. Ticketing details will be released at a later date.

Jointly organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, ChildAid was established in 2005 to raise funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund. Since its inception, more than 650 youth have taken part and a total of $7.8 million has been raised. The organisers are hoping to at least match last year's record of $2.01 million.

The show adopts a carnival theme this year, which three-time show director Jeremiah Choy, 50, called "colourful, loud, noisy and celebratory".

He said: "The concert is also about providing a platform for children to experience the professional stage. They need to learn how to collaborate with one another and work in a team. It requires a lot of discipline and sacrifice."