SINGAPORE - The virtual charity concert ChildAid 2020 debuts on Wednesday (July 15) on the various digital platforms of The Straits Times and The Business Times. Pop stars, jazz maestros, child performers and world-renowned classical musicians are joining forces to bring you a terrific hour of music entertainment.
The concert, organised by the two newspapers, raises funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which have assisted over 170,000 children over the years. The concert is sponsored by UOB, UBS, Citi Singapore and Richard Mille, among others.
Here are the 10 things to look out for in the concert, which also marks ST's 175 anniversary.
1. Cutting-edge technology
This marks the first time a full Singapore concert is presented in immersive 360-degree video format and Ambisonics surround sound. While the concert can be viewed on desktops and laptops, it is better to watch it on a smartphone or tablet, and with a pair of headphones or earphones. You can move your viewing device left or right, up or down, or all around, to enjoy the concert in every direction. For an even more immersive experience, use VR goggles.
2. Nathan Hartono & Abby Simone's duet
At the first ChildAid concert in 2005, Nathan Hartono took to the stage as a 13-year-old teenager with an impressive set of pipes. Fifteen years later, he is a bona fide pop star with millions of fans across the region. He returns to the ChildAid stage with soulful songbird Abby Simone for Russian Roulette, an original song written by local band MMLD.
3. Multi-hyphenate Heema Izzati Zainudin
She sings, she composes and she plays multiple instruments. Another alumna of ChildAid, 13-year-old Heema Izzati Zainudin is performing a mash-up of classical composition Czardas by Monti and pop song Myself by Bazzi. And since she is putting together all the music by herself, it is only right that you see five versions of her on your screen.
4. Jeremy Monteiro teams up with young talent
Singapore's most beloved blues brother Jeremy Monteiro collaborates with no less than five young talent for two numbers. In the first one, he has invited Joey Alexander - a 16-year-old pianist with three Grammy nominations to his name - to play the classic song Down By The Riverside. For the second number Mount Olive, which he wrote and arranged, he jams with rising stars CC Lee, John Koh, Krishna Kanhaiya and Lee Ann Gie.
5. Dancing over Zoom
Can there be dancing in this pandemic? The young dancers of dance school O School prove there indeed can be. Twenty of them, aged between 17 and 20, switched on their Zoom cameras and synchronised their moves to Derek Gust's dance number Burdens and The Hunts' Heaven Knows and Peace Be Still, choreographed by Ahmad Kamil.
6. Benjamin Kheng's solo outing
Pop star, influencer and all-round nice guy Benjamin Kheng recently released his debut solo six-track EP. He is performing one of the songs against a lush backdrop of cityscapes at night. The song, titled Make Do, is about "making do" with what one already has to make love and life work - an apt message for our times.
7. Band of brothers
Honey-voiced Syah Riszuan, 15, has performed thrice in ChildAid, each time belting out some of the most difficult songs to sing in the pop canon, including Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love Of All. He is performing an original number for the first time titled I Hope, a catchy reggae-infused number composed by his brother Mohd Shahfiq, with cello accompaniment by Alyssa Tan.
8. Jasmine Sokko rules
There are few Singapore artists more exciting right now than Jasmine Sokko, an electronic dance music princess with a gift for penning infectious tunes. She sings her original song Mess against an intergalactic backdrop of shooting stars and supernovas. Put on your VR goggles to experience drifting in space with her.
9. ChildAid alumni reunion
Some of the best singers from the past 15 editions of ChildAid reunite to form the virtual choir for ChildAid's theme song, A World To Imagine. Once child singers, some have become accomplished professional musicians. The song is arranged by producer George Leong and conductor Darius Lim.
10. Classical finale
Maestro Wong Kah Chun, chief conductor for the Nuremberg Symphony, has assembled more than 1,000 musicians from 25 countries to perform Beethoven's Ode To Joy, marking the German composer's 250th birth anniversary. The instrumentalists and singers include the best in the world, from Chicago to China.
VIEW IT/CHILDAID 2020 - VIRTUALLY YOURS
WHERE: YouTube and Facebook channels of The Straits Times and The Business Times; The Straits Times, The Business Times and Stay Home with SPH websites
WHEN: July 15, 8pm
HOW TO DONATE
Readers can donate through these various ways:
(1) Via Giving.sg. Go to str.sg/donatetochildaid
(2) Via Singtel Dash. Go to str.sg/childaid2020 for details.
(3) By PayNow (UEN Number: 201408699H, enter CA20 and NRIC and contact numbers in the reference field)
(4) By cheque, made payable to "ChildAid", indicating name, NRIC number and address at the back of the cheque. The cheque can be mailed to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, 1000 Toa Payoh North, Singapore 318994.
WATCH THE TRAILER
Catch a sneak peek of the upcoming concert here
The one-minute trailer gives a glimpse into the concert's 360-degree virtual experience and is best enjoyed using a smartphone or tablet, as well as headphones to experience the Ambisonics surround sound. The concert can also be viewed on the computer or laptop.