Young talents shine at ChildAid's opening night

FOR nine-year-old Aoden Teo Masa Toshi, performing at children's charity concert ChildAid 2011 was a chance for him to feel like one of his idols, cellist Yo Yo Ma.

At the concert's opening night yesterday, Aoden performed a cello solo of Camille Saint-Saens' Allegro Appassionato in B minor, op 43. Although he is the principal cellist in his school band, it was his first time performing backed by an orchestra.

'I'm really excited, it's a dream come true for me,' the Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) pupil told The Straits Times.

The concert, now in its seventh edition, opened to an almost full house at the University Cultural Centre. It is being held to raise money for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary attended in their personal capacity.

The 1,500-strong audience was treated to an elaborate set crafted to look like a book, with 130 performers emerging from its pages to sing, dance and play their instruments.

School of the Arts student Ivan Koh, 17, performed a dance which saw him switch effortlessly from freestyle to the more disciplined medium of ballet, all to the tune of John Lennon's Imagine.

Social worker Wong Wei Lei, 50, who attended the concert a few years ago, enjoyed it so much that she took more family members with her this time around. 'It's an excellent concert, and for a good cause, too,' she said.

Ms Pauline Teo, 37, who attended with her children, hoped that her 10-year-old son who plays the piano would be inspired to audition for next year's concert.

The main sponsors of this year's show are Citibank and HSBC Bank. The official venue partner is the National University of Singapore's Centre For the Arts.

The concert's run ends tomorrow.