Call for Singaporeans to sing a national favourite in virtual choir performance during NDP

NDP will be different this year due to Covid-19.
NDP will be different this year due to Covid-19.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - While this year's National Day Parade (NDP) theme song has yet to be announced, one familiar favourite will feature in the celebrations, come Aug 9.

Premiered in 1987 and now considered a national classic, the patriotic We Are Singapore will be performed by a "virtual choir" of regular Singaporeans.

Submissions for joining this choir are now open.

The song was chosen for its "meaningful lyrics which remind Singaporeans to look out for each other in difficult times, and to overcome any obstacle together", said this year's NDP executive committee during the announcement on Tuesday (June 16).

Written by Canadian jazz pianist Hugh Harrison, the song's lyrics incorporate the Singapore Pledge written by then Minister for Foreign Affairs S. Rajaratnam in 1966, as well as quotes from a speech given that year by Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the Victoria Theatre.

The latter was addressing school principals and was concerned about the lack of national sentiment among Singapore's young.

He said: "But whatever it is, ultimately the result that we want - and I am sure you must want this - is to produce a community that feels together."

He then continued in the words now immortalised in the song: "You know, on certain things it responds together: this is my country, this is my flag; this is my President; this is my future. I am going to protect it."

The executive committee said the virtual choir performance will be broadcast as part of the evening show together with other films produced especially for the NDP.

 
 
 

While no details on the number of submissions to be eventually featured was immediately available, it is understood that selections will be made with the aim of showing a representative picture of Singapore.

Colonel Wong Shi Ming, chairman of the NDP2020 show committee, said: "We invite Singaporeans, young and old, to join us to sing together as a show of our unity and confidence in our country, our home.

"The virtual choir provides a platform for Singaporeans to contribute their recordings, connect with each other, and sing with one voice as we celebrate from our homes."

Those who want to lend their voices to the project can find the submission link on the NDP website or at the Google form.

The submission window is open from Tuesday to June 25.

The NDP will be different this year due to Covid-19. Instead of having the parade at a central location such as the Marina Bay floating platform, parade segments will move into the heartland, and proceedings will be livestreamed into every home.

Collective singalongs have been used on different occasions this year to rally the national spirit in the face of difficult economic conditions and the pandemic.

On April 25, residents islandwide sang the well-loved NDP song Home together at 7.55pm to thank front-line and migrant workers, who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak.