Music for a day to keep the hospital blues away

Young members of the Sing'theatre Academy (above) putting up a song-and-dance performance yesterday. Meanwhile, patient Seah Mui Huay (below), 79, sang along as actor/DJ Hossan Leong Leong performed the Teresa Teng classic, The Moon Represents My Hea
Young members of the Sing'theatre Academy putting up a song-and-dance performance yesterday.PHOTOS: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Young members of the Sing'theatre Academy (above) putting up a song-and-dance performance yesterday. Meanwhile, patient Seah Mui Huay (below), 79, sang along as actor/DJ Hossan Leong Leong performed the Teresa Teng classic, The Moon Represents My Hea
Patient Seah Mui Huay, 79, sang along as actor/DJ Hossan Leong Leong performed the Teresa Teng classic, The Moon Represents My Heart.PHOTOS: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SGH patients and staff line halls to enjoy local stars' performances

THERE may not have been any twisting and shouting, but yesterday's MusicFest at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) put a smile on patients' faces as local stars performed home-grown hits and Beatles classics.

Former Singapore Idol star Daphne Khoo and actor/DJ Hossan Leong were among performers at the third annual event, which organisers said had been improved on following previous negative feedback.

SGH community relations manager Mumtaj Ibrahim said: "People do complain it is too loud or crowded, so we mostly avoid rock or loud music, choosing ballads or traditional performances. We don't claim to heal their bodies, but we want to soothe their souls."

Artistic director Nathalie Ribette of Sing'theatre, the event's co-organiser, said: "We don't just look for the best performers, but the best sharers, people who empathise and are able to communicate with the patients."

To cater to an older audience, the organisers incorporated more music from the 1970s, as well as traditional performances.

Throughout the day, the hospital was filled with music, from the lobby to the wards, with patients and staff lining the halls to enjoy the performances. The singers interacted with patients, chatting and joking with them.

Ms Seah Mui Huay, 79, enjoyed meeting Mr Leong and sang along as he performed the Teresa Teng classic, The Moon Represents My Heart. After spending over four weeks in hospital with an infected arm, the performances were a welcome break for her. "I have seen him on television before and never thought I would see him in person. It was fun and he was very nice, even asking me if I preferred Chinese songs."

Fellow patient Celine De Silva, 79, said being in hospital was boring but the event "made my day so different". She added: "I have never heard them sing in person before. It was so lovely".

Ms Khoo, 28 - who overcame ovarian cancer in 2012 - said the opportunity meant a lot to her and she wanted to "distract the patients from their illness or bring some cheer to them".

sueannc@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2015, with the headline 'Music for a day to keep the hospital blues away'. Print Edition | Subscribe