Over 1,000 fans attend memorial concert for late xinyao pioneer

Queue for Dawn Gan's memorial concert at Capitol Piazza at 2.45pm on Oct 14, 2018. The concert began at 4pm.ST VIDEO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Capitol Theatre was a sea of white yesterday afternoon as about a thousand fans of late xinyao pioneer Dawn Gan attended a concert paying tribute to her.

Gan, who died last month at the age of 55, was a star in the days of xinyao, a genre of Singapore Mandarin folk-pop music popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The singer behind iconic numbers such as Youth 123, Your Reflection and Water Tales was known for her bubbly personality and sweet soprano voice.

The concert, Embracing Dawn - Farewell For Dawn Gan, was organised by Singapore Press Holdings' Chinese Media Group and home-grown record label Ocean Butterflies Music. This came days after another memorial concert by TCR Music Station was held at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre.

At yesterday's concert that began at 4pm, well-known singers Liang Wern Fook, Hong Shao Xuan and Pan Ying were among those who performed Gan's old tunes. Friends, family, former classmates, singers and Jack Neo - who directed Gan in the 2012 movie We Not Naughty - also shared their memories of her.

Gan died in Hong Kong on Sept 22, after battling a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma she had been diagnosed with five years ago. In 2014, she performed for a crowd of 2,000 at Bras Basah Complex for xinyao documentary The Songs We Sang (2015), despite having had a part of her lung removed.

Gan was married to businessman Lawrence Chia, with whom she had three children.

Capitol Theatre was a full house yesterday, and about a hundred others spilled over into Capitol Piazza to watch a live screening of the concert, which was also screened live on 96.3 Hao FM's Facebook page.


Retiree Grace Ng, 69, started queueing at 11am. "Even my (five-year-old) grandson likes her music," she said. "I rarely queue for things, but this was worth it even though I stood till my feet ached. I was so sad (to hear she had died)."

Housewife Joy Tay, 45, who was there with her husband and eight-year-old daughter, said: "She left us too soon."

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng also joined the singers on stage for the last song of the day, Our Class.

Retiree Lim Hek Eng, 73, said after the concert: "We were very touched... Even when she was very ill, she still had music in her heart."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2018, with the headline 'Over 1,000 fans attend memorial concert for late xinyao pioneer'. Print Edition | Subscribe