Electric youth, eclectic talent

Lighting will be a key part of this year's ChildAid concert featuring more edgy performances

From playing classical music with a twist to executing high- energy dance moves, about 200 youth will fire up the stage for the eighth edition of charity concert ChildAid.

The performers, aged 19 and below at the start of the year, were selected in an open call for entries and auditions and by invitation.

They are backed by an experienced creative and production team, who will shape the concert around this year's theme: The Electric Edition.

For instance, the show's artistic director is music veteran and 2008 Cultural Medallion recipient Iskandar Ismail, who has been involved in ChildAid since its second edition in 2006.

Mr Jeremiah Choy, 50, show director for ChildAid for the second consecutive year, said that the creative team was exploring a programme that was more edgy and fun, and had juxtaposed different genres and styles. For example, a segment will feature performers rapping to music played by an orchestra. He added that the audience can expect an "evocative, eclectic and electrifying event".

The show's stage designer Randy Chan, 42, who created a stage that looked like a giant open book last year, said this year's staging would invoke the "electrifying" theme through the use of lighting and LED screens.

Props, such as fluorescent tubing, for different scenes will be used, said the architect, who has been involved in stage and set designs of National Day Parades.

He added, however: "It is a charity concert, so we are quite mindful about it not being too opulent."

And, similar to last year, the stage design would accommodate the 70- strong orchestra instead of hiding them from view in an orchestra pit.

Lighting, a key element of the show, will be designed by long-time contributor to ChildAid Roy Chooi, 40.

The veteran lighting designer said that the treatment of lights would be more playful and that it would be a more immersive experience for the audience. "The lights are part of the entertainment."

Those returning to help out at ChildAid include, among others, sound engineer Shah Tahir, costume designer Moe Kasim and film-maker and artist Brian Gothong Tan, whose designs will appear on the stage's LED screens.

Among those who came on board ChildAid this year is creative agency Jooja!, which is designing the show's publicity materials pro bono. The agency's creative director Noel Rodrigues, 42, said of volunteering for ChildAid: "It's for a good cause. It has shown a good track record."

The annual year-end event raises money for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, a programme under The Old Parliament House that funds arts education for underprivileged children, and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, a charity that gives a monthly sum to children from low-income families.

The past seven editions of ChildAid have raised a total of $5.86 million for both causes.

Another new face to the ChildAid creative team is Zaini Mohammad Tahir, 43, the show's choreographer and dance trainer to the performers.

Zaini, who worked with the show's vocalists at a workshop last month, said the young performers were professional and enthusiastic to try new things. Some of the performers will be doing a K-pop number.

He said: "We are pushing as hard as we can to showcase the kids as best as we can."


The ChildAid concert will be held on Dec 7 and 8 at Marina Bay Sands' Grand Theater. Marina Bay Sands is the official venue partner for ChildAid. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/ChildAid