Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre
It has been eight years since ChildAid had its first edition. The annual concert that showcases the best of young Singapore musical talent has taken on a more classical sheen, with the Orchestra Of The Music Makers as its resident ensemble.
The young orchestra performed in almost all the items, conducted by Iskandar Ismail and Chan Tze Law for the popular and classical pieces respectively.
The pop music segment served as a barometer of what is in vogue with young people today. The music included covers of songs by Adele and Justin Bieber, choral music as celebrated by TV series Glee, hip-hop, rap music and arguably the hottest item today, K-Pop's Gangnam Style.
The classical music fought hard for receptive ears, and had to contend with background chattering and murmuring from the audience, when its short attention span was exhausted beyond the five-minute mark.
Thus violinist Gabriel Ng's effortlessly virtuosic La Campanella movement from Paganini's Second Violin Concerto, and a shortened First Book Of Brahms' ferociously difficult Paganini Variations from Japanese pianist Hidekazu Nakajima were made to sound a tad underwhelming. Perhaps this was because they came on just before the intermission, and listeners had become restless.
The situation improved immediately after the break, with purely orchestral work Mothership by Mason Bates, composed last year for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, getting the attention it deserved.
Soloists on accordion, violin, oboe and tuba acquitted themselves well for their moments in the spotlight.
What about the magical sight of three grand pianos rising from the pit onto centre stage?
Joined by three invited pianists Hsieh Wei-Ting (Taiwan), Nguyen Le Binh Anh (Vietnam) and Gun Chaikittiwatana (Thailand), winners of the regional Stein- way International Competition, who performed the first movement of Mozart's Concerto For Three Pianos, this was the concert's most intimate music. Every note and phrase was crisply minted, and the reading was one of utter clarity.
Iskandar's closing number, A World To Imagine, with lyrics by Paul Tan, provided the final apotheosis.
Nine-year-old flautist Ong Yi Ting, one of the evening's younger performers, opened the feel-good piece, which featured instrumentalists, singers, dancers, choirs and bands.
Their message was simple: One is never too young to give back to society.