ChildAid 2015

ChildAid stars juggle music and schoolwork

Three performers share how they fit practice into their daily routine

She began playing the violin at the age of four and played live for the first time - in a mall in her hometown of Jakarta - a year later.

Clarissa Tamara recalls being a bundle of nerves then as she performed Long Long Ago by 19-century British songwriter Thomas Bayly, but her talent on the strings was undeniable.

When she was eight, the oldest of three siblings released her first album, 8, which won two awards at the Anugerah Musik Indonesia. Her second album, 9 Gifts Of Christmas, also came out the same year.

Now, the 16-year-old has her mind set on being a professional musician. She will play at the 11th edition of ChildAid, one of Singapore's biggest annual children's charity concerts, today and tomorrow.

Organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times in support of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, the concert is held at the Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, the event's official venue partner.


  • WHERE: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue

    WHEN: Today and tomorrow, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $18, $28 and $38 from Marina Bay Sands (call 6688-8826 or go to

The concert - this year's theme is Be The Light - will feature 19 acts and 123 performers aged seven to 19 from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Singapore jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro will make his debut as its music director.

For the first time, performers were picked by the organisers and not through auditions. Together with Singapore cellist Lubin Chee and a percussionist, Tamara will play the main theme from American television series Game Of Thrones by German-born composer Ramin Djawadi.

The 11th grader tells Life that she practises on the violin three to four hours daily. "A normal day for me is to go to school, come home and practise the violin. To balance my studies and violin practice, I must schedule my time well to do both."

Another performer is Malaysian guitarist, Melvyn Gnai, 14, who started playing the acoustic guitar at age 11. He has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City and live on television in China and Amsterdam.

The middle child, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, was born into a musical family - his parents own a music school. The Secondary 2 student says he practises two to three hours daily after school and homework.

He will perform Legend by Japanese guitarist Kotaro Oshio as his solo piece. "I'll be playing it in a way so it sounds like I'm a one-man band on the guitar." He will also be doing a group piece, accompanying Singaporean singer-songwriter Lewis Loh in his cover of Fix You by English band Coldplay.

Chee, who just completed his A-Level examination at Temasek Junior College, where he took the Music Elective Programme, will also play Can You Read My Mind, the theme from Superman by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse.

The 18-year-old, who obtained a diploma in cello performance last year, has performed in numerous concerts, including a guest performance for Mandopop star Wang Lee Hom's concert here in 2012.

He says: "Honing your skills on an instrument is a long-term process and you have to make time to practise even though you know everyone else is resting. It's worth it, though, as I plan to pursue music as a career."

The performers will come together in the concert finale for the theme song, Be The Light, written by music conductor and arranger Julian Wong, 27, and singer Amni Musfirah, 20 - both ChildAid alumni.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'ChildAid 2015 Juggling music and school'. Print Edition | Subscribe