Kids' orchestras aim for ChildAid

To play at annual charity concert is the goal for ACS (Junior) String Orchestra and Kids'philharmonic@sg

For the first time, two kids' orchestras - Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) String Orchestra and Kids'philharmonic@sg - have applied to perform at this year's charity concert ChildAid 2013.

The annual concert, which is in aid of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, will be staged on Dec 6 and 7 at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. Applications for auditions at the end of this month are now being accepted. Closing date for submissions is June 8.

Ms Gloria Loh, 40, teacher-in-charge of the ACS (J) string orchestra, says: "This is an invaluable experience for our boys, that they are able to make a difference to society by taking part in ChildAid."

Formed in 2009, the string orchestra of boys aged seven to 12 years won gold awards at the Australian International Music Festival last year and at the New York International Music Festival in April this year held at the Carnegie Hall.

Also hoping for a spot on the ChildAid stage is Kids'philharmonic@sg, a non-profit organisation formed last July that aims to provide equal opportunities for all children to study and play classical music. The symphony orchestra, made up of talent aged seven to 16, will hold a concert, Beautiful Sunday, at the Esplanade Concert Hall next month.

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Kids'philharmonic@sg president Lee Hoon Piek, 59, says: "We believe that when children are involved in the pursuit of fund-raising, they will better appreciate the life they have now."

Violinist Colin Toh, nine, was not picked from last year's ChildAid concert auditions but is back this year with the Kids'philharmonic @sg to try again.

"I am very excited but at the same time anxious and nervous," says Colin, who had auditioned with his sister Cheryl, then 13 years old, accompanying him on the piano. "This time it will be with an orchestra, so I believe the experience will be very different."

Adds the enthusiastic young musician: "I would encourage other kids to audition because they get to help the poor and perform on a big stage."

The organisers are still looking for entrants, including instrumentalists, dancers, puppeteers, magicians, gymnasts and acrobats, to perform at this year's carnival-themed concert.

Between 10 and 20 selected performers may also get a chance to perform in ChildAid Asia at Suntory Hall in Tokyo next January.

Mr Alvin Tay, organising chairman of this year's charity talent show and editor of The Business Times, says: "These young talents will be performing at the world-class Suntory Hall where many of the world's top orchestras have performed. That's a great experience not to be missed.

"More importantly, they will also be helping to raise funds to help the less privileged children in Tokyo."

eiltay@sph.com.sg