Straits Times concert at Botanic Gardens draws more than 10,000 people

More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Books, sponsored by Scholastic, were given out to the attendees.
Books, sponsored by Scholastic, were given out to the attendees. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Books, sponsored by Scholastic, were given out to the attendees.
Books, sponsored by Scholastic, were given out to the attendees. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).ST PHOTO: ST READER
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22).
More than 10,000 people turned up for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens on Sunday (July 22). ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - The West Side Story may be just another song for the rest, but for 63-year-old Ms Tai Mee Yin, it helps her recall the days she spent in university decades ago, where she was involved in a play that used the song.

The 63-year-old retiree was among more than 10,000 people who turned up at Singapore Botanic Gardens on Saturday (July 22) for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens.

"The songs played today, such as Morning Mood, were nice, but I came here specially to hear The West Side Story, which brings back fond memories of my days in university," said the long-time ST subscriber.

Despite the humid evening, the entire green in front of the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage was packed to the brim, way before the concert started at 6pm. Many had to resort standing around the fringe of the stage, where the performance was held.

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The concert, with Singapore Symphony Orchestra associate conductor Jason Lai holding the baton, is sponsored by the Singapore Press Holdings' Gift of Music series, which is in its 12th year.

Prior to the hour-long concert, there were giveaways to early birds, such as paper fans and picnic mats. They were also given sparkling water, which was sponsored by Fraser & Neave.

There was also a book charity drive by the National Library Board. The concert-goers were given a reading sheet, and for every 10 people who read for 15 minutes, a book will be donated to children beneficiaries.

In addition, about 2,000 books of varying titles were given out to those present, which were sponsored by Scholastic, a company that specialises in publishing and distributing children's books.

The concert started with Morning Mood by Edvard Grieg, followed by other classical pieces such as Brahms' Third Symphony and Morricone's Cinema Paradiso. Mr Lai concluded the concert with Home, a popular National Day song composed by veteran Singapore composer Dick Lee.

Ms Shun Chen, 30, was at the outdoor concert with three other friends. The finance manager was sitting on a groundsheet, enjoying the concert over wine and apple.

She compared this to concerts that she has been to in France, where it was more formal and one has to be well-dressed for the theatre setting.

"I enjoy listening to these classical music pieces at an informal setting like this event, where it is livelier and closer to public," she added.