All hands on deck for record piano marathon

Eleven-year-old Jesse Collins playing his own composition in the piano marathon at Ion Orchard yesterday. Proceeds from the 13-hour charity marathon will go to The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides arts training to young people from
Eleven-year-old Jesse Collins playing his own composition in the piano marathon at Ion Orchard yesterday. Proceeds from the 13-hour charity marathon will go to The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides arts training to young people from needy families.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Classical tunes and Christmas melodies filled the air at Ion Orchard mall yesterday, as a 13-hour charity piano marathon was under way, with $17,500 raised as of 9pm.

The event, organised by piano maker Steinway and Sons, saw pianists aged six to 54 taking turns to play music from 10am in an effort to set a new record for the longest piano performance in Singapore. People were invited to donate money during the performance, which was slated to end at 11pm.

Proceeds from the marathon will go to The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which provides arts training to young people from needy families.

One performer was 11-year-old Jesse Collins, who played a composition of his own from memory. It incorporated Christmas tunes, and took 11/2 months to compose.

"I've been learning the boogie-woogie piano style for a few years... I really like it and I like to improvise," Jesse said. This musical style, which grew out of the blues genre, was popularised in the US in the 1920s.

Ms Celine Goh, general manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore, said it has traditionally organised youth piano competitions which "drew the cream of the crop". This charity marathon, organised for the first time, was a way for pianists of all ages and skill levels to show off their capabilities, she added.

"It's different from a very serious competition," Ms Goh said. "There's a feeling of community."

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'All hands on deck for record piano marathon'. Print Edition | Subscribe