From Phantom to Ponyo, ChildAid 2021 set to entertain

(From left) Ji Yuan Jun, Alyssa Teo, Lim Yi Ting and Amelie See rehearsing for their Studio Ghibli medley for the ChildAid concert, on Dec 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The annual children's charity concert ChildAid returns as a hybrid event on Thursday (Dec 9).

Audiences at home can catch the concert online at approximately 7.30pm when it is live streamed on the Facebook and YouTube channels of The Straits Times (ST) and The Business Times (BT), as well as on The Straits Times and The Business Times websites. The live event is being held at Resorts World Sentosa with President Halimah Yacob as the guest of honour.

Now in its 17th year, ChildAid is organised by ST and BT, and continues to be a platform for discovering new talent from ages six to 19.

The theme of this year's concert is "Virtuoso". Due to current restrictions on stage shows, the number of performers is only 31 - a fraction of previous ChildAid casts, which were often more than 100. But among the 31 are some outstanding child performers who will undoubtedly continue to flourish in the coming years.

Previous ChildAid performers who have grown up to become full-time musicians include pop star Nathan Hartono, conductor-composer Julian Wong and soprano Janani Sridhar.

ChildAid benefits the ST School Pocket Money Fund, which provides financial assistance to needy children from low-income families, as well as The BT Budding Artists Fund, which aids artistically talented youth from less privileged households.

The main sponsors this year are United Overseas Bank and Mini Environment Service, while the platinum sponsors are Citi and ToteBoard. The venue partner is Resorts World Sentosa. The concert's creative partner is Orangedot Productions and the executive producer is Global Cultural Alliance. The official radio stations are Money 89.3, OneFM91.3 and Kiss92. The multimedia partner is Noontalk, streaming partner is Meta and rehearsal venue partner is 10Square.

Here are eight acts from more than a dozen to look out for this Thursday evening:

1. Girl power

Heema Izzati Zainudin is one of three singers performing a number from High School Musical. PHOTO: COURTESY OF HEEMA IZZATI ZAINUDIN

Three girls with powerful lungs - Adele Wee, Heema Izzati Zainudin and Melissa Hecker - will open the show with the energetic number Born To Be Brave from the High School Musical franchise.

Heema, 15, says: "In the face of hard times, we can triumph through music and song, sharing the love and spreading joy through art."

2. Cutest act

(From left) Newman Tong, Jasmine Zhu and Winston Ong. PHOTO: CHILDAID

Three nine-year-old pianists - Jasmine Zhu, Newton Tong, Winston Ong - will simultaneously place their hands on one piano and play Wilhelm Ganz's humorous composition Grand Galop de Concert. The trio call themselves No Front Teeth.

3. Piano prodigy

Jessie Meng, 14, was the First Prize joint-winner in the Piano Intermediate category of the recently concluded National Piano & Violin Competition 2021. She will play Prokofiev's Toccata, a spellbinding showpiece that is also notoriously difficult to master. She says: "To me, a virtuoso is someone who not only excels at his or her instrument, but also connects to it on an emotional level."

4. Bond meets Billie Eilish

Jitterbugs Singapore rehearsing for the ChildAid concert on Dec 2, 2021. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

With No Time To Die fresh on the minds of movie buffs, Jitterbugs Swingapore will perform an original choreography set to its theme song sung by Billie Eilish. Heidi Yeo, one of the six young dancers, says: "The Covid-19 pandemic has taught me to appreciate and celebrate what I have, and I am grateful for this opportunity to be a part of this good cause."

5. En pointe

PHOTO: COURTESY OF MAXINE MOK

Maxine Mok, 12, is a talented ballerina who recently earned Gold at the Youth Arts Festival in the Solo, Age 12 Category. She is set to wow the audience with her performance of Princess Florine Variation from Act III of the famous ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

6. Studio Ghibli lives!

PHOTO: VOICE OF THE CELLO

Four cellists and a pianist - Alyssa Teo, Amelie See, Ji Yuan Jun, Lim Yi Ting and Tan Wen Yu - will play a medley of songs from several Studio Ghibli movies, including Spirited Away (2001), Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008).

7. Pirate music

PHOTO: COURTESY OF JUSTIN LOW

Justin Low, 16, was the Second Prize winner in the Piano Senior category of the National Piano & Violin Piano Competition 2021. He will perform music from the film franchise Pirates Of The Caribbean, with a thrilling arrangement by pianist-composer-arranger Jarrod Radnich.

8. Phantom phenom

ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Soprano Raeanne Wong, 16, will deliver a beautiful rendition of Think Of Me from the musical Phantom Of The Opera. She says: "I am immensely humbled to be given the opportunity to bless others with my God-given talent. As unique individuals, each of us has a special gift from above. May this concert inspire the 'virtuoso' in you to share your gift with society as well."

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