Heart and art at ChildAid audition

Shortlisted 59 acts give their all for a chance to perform in the December charity concert

From a string quartet playing a Beatles oldie to soloists belting out pop songs, young people turned on their charm at the ChildAid auditions on Saturday for a chance to perform at the annual charity concert.

They were among 59 acts, comprising groups or individuals, who were shortlisted from 200 in response to a local call for entries.

Aged 19 and below, the age limit for applicants, they faced a panel of eight judges including ChildAid artistic director and veteran musician Iskandar Ismail.

Third-time ChildAid applicant Natasha Michella Da Costa, 11, was shortlisted for auditions for the first time. The Primary 5 pupil at Mayflower Primary sang When You Believe by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

She said: 'I felt excited and nervous having to express myself in front of so many judges but as I sang, my confidence started to gather.'

Lineath Rajendran, 18, had the judges bobbing their heads and moving their hands to his self- composed rap titled One Man Falls. The Nanyang Polytechnic Year 2 student said: 'It was quite fun.'

Sisters Nur Shaheen Zainudin, 12, and Maya Raisha Zainudin, nine, started their segment by mimicking the singing styles of different stars from Christina Aguilera to Michael Jackson before launching into their individual acts singing and playing the guitar, piano and violin. They also introduced each other's performances.

Some showed quick thinking amid the pressure of the auditions.

When the string quartet of Chester Tan and Lieu Kah Yen, both 15, Samuel Lieu, 14, and Xavier Chia, 16, said they were going to play When I Am 64 by The Beatles, one panellist was heard saying: 'Their combined age is not even 64.'

Chester responded: 'Our combined age will be 64 next year!'

Also at the audition was Clarence Liew, 19, a national serviceman who has gained a following on YouTube for his covers of popular songs. He felt ChildAid was a way to give back to the community.

ChildAid show director Jeremiah Choy, 49, from Orangedot Productions, said: 'It was wonderful to see that auditionees came in having the right heart, wanting to show their passion and wanting to contribute.'

ChildAid raises money for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund which help underprivileged children. This year's concert will be staged on Dec 7 and 8 at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theater.

Applicants will be individually notified on the outcome of the audition.