Gearing up for live ChildAid 2021 on Dec 9 with Zoom rehearsals

First time performer Yogi Tan, who will be singing, rehearsing for ChildAid 2021 over Zoom.
First time performer Yogi Tan, who will be singing, rehearsing for ChildAid 2021 over Zoom.PHOTO: COURTESY OF WILSON TAN

SINGAPORE - Due to pandemic-related measures, the rehearsals for this year's ChildAid concert had to mostly take place virtually via Zoom.

But that has not doused the enthusiasm of first-time performers such as Raeanne Wong and Yogi Tan, who will be singing at the annual charity concert organised by The Business Times and The Straits Times .

The event, which went online last year, returns to the live stage at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) on Dec 9.

Yogi, nine, tells The Straits Times: "I feel excited and a little nervous, but I'm looking forward to meeting new friends who love singing as much as I do."

Along with three other boys, the Primary 3 pupil will be performing Burnin' Up by American pop trio Jonas Brothers.

The event is by-invite-only and will be broadcast live to audiences at home. This year's theme , Virtuoso, is inspired by a desire to showcase the creme de la creme of talent.

In-person rehearsals will take place only on four days - from Nov 29 to Dec 2 - instead of the usual seven to 10 days in pre-pandemic years.

Artistic director Jeremiah Choy, 59, says extra care has also been taken to ensure safety at the concert, as 40 per cent of the performers are under 12 years old and unvaccinated.

While past editions of ChildAid can accommodate up to 200 performers, Choy says current Covid-19 restrictions allow only for a total of 50 crew and performers and around 500 in-person audience members.

As such, there are only 31 performers this year, aged seven to 16.

"We had over 400 audition entries this year and it breaks our heart not to be able to include as many performers as we can, but everyone we have selected is at the top of his or her game," Choy says.

"The kids who have done ChildAid three or four times are very professional, so their auditions are very good, but at the same time, we were mindful of giving first-timers a chance."

Among the newcomers is Raeanne, a 16-year-old voice major at School of the Arts, Singapore (Sota). She will be singing Think Of Me, a song from the 1986 musical The Phantom Of The Opera.

"What's interesting about The Phantom Of The Opera is that it's a musical that incorporates a lot of operatic elements, which is what I learn to do in school," she says.

The teenager adds that she was drawn to ChildAid's philanthropic goals.

"My parents have always taught me the value of giving back and I'm excited to see how the show will turn out."

Choy says of Raeanne and Yogi: "Raeanne's very polished already and I have absolute faith in her. Yogi was a little shy at the beginning. The other three boys who are performing with him have done ChildAid before, but they are very welcoming and I think Yogi will fit right in."

ChildAid raises money for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. The former supports school allowance for children from low-income families and the latter gives opportunities to underprivileged children and youth to develop their artistic talents.

The main sponsors of the event are UOB and MES and the platinum sponsors are Citibank 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.

ChildAid 2021 can be streamed on Dec 9 from 7.30pm on The Straits Times and The Business Times Facebook pages and YouTube channels. To donate, go to City of Good's website.