Hope in the air as SSO delivers the Gift of Music

SSO associate conductor Joshua Tan addressing the audience during yesterday's concert, which drew many people to the Victoria Concert Hall at lunchtime. Yesterday's concert, themed Hope, marked the start of the 12th consecutive SPH Gift of Music seri
SSO associate conductor Joshua Tan addressing the audience during yesterday's concert, which drew many people to the Victoria Concert Hall at lunchtime. Yesterday's concert, themed Hope, marked the start of the 12th consecutive SPH Gift of Music series, which is sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings.ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI
SSO associate conductor Joshua Tan addressing the audience during yesterday's concert, which drew many people to the Victoria Concert Hall at lunchtime. Yesterday's concert, themed Hope, marked the start of the 12th consecutive SPH Gift of Music seri
SSO associate conductor Joshua Tan addressing the audience during yesterday's concert, which drew many people to the Victoria Concert Hall at lunchtime. Yesterday's concert, themed Hope, marked the start of the 12th consecutive SPH Gift of Music series, which is sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings.ST PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI

The Victoria Concert Hall was filled with hope at lunchtime yesterday as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) rang out the familiar strains of the Star Wars soundtrack.

Sales manager Angela Lai's interest had been piqued when she read that the SSO's set list included John Williams' The Force Awakens Suite from the sci-fi movie, so she took a walk from her nearby office for the free concert.

"I don't usually go for concerts but I thought it would be interesting to try something new," said Ms Lai, 37.

Yesterday's concert, themed Hope, marked the commencement of the 12th consecutive SPH Gift of Music series, which is sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings.

Under the baton of associate conductor Joshua Tan, the orchestra, comprising more than 70 musicians, played to a full house of 673 people.

Concertgoers were treated to classical pieces such as Gioachino Rossini's La Cenerentola Overture and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Overture, before the Star Wars finale.

Ms Lai said: "I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan but it did make me even more interested to go. I think that was my favourite piece."

Ms Ginney Lim, SPH executive vice-president for corporate communications and corporate social responsibility, said the SPH Gift of Music Series was launched with the aim of making quality music accessible and free to everyone in the heartland, parks, shopping malls and concert halls.

"This endeavour allowed us to support local arts groups. We're proud to have partnered SSO and other music groups for this meaningful community event for the 12th consecutive year," she said.

The Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Lyric Opera, The Philharmonic Winds, Singapore Wind Symphony and Ding Yi Music Company will also play at performances scheduled this year.

The concerts will feature genres such as classical, opera and ethnic music.

The SSO is set to perform almost the same setlist at 6.30pm tomorrow at The Meadow in Gardens by the Bay, with the addition of music from the movie Jurassic Park.

Mr M.B. Lim, 70, read about yesterday's event in the newspapers and arrived half an hour early to get a seat. The retired teacher, who loves classical music, said: "I'm no music expert but I've enjoyed SPH concerts over the last three years and I'm glad it's continuing this year."

•For more information, visit sph.com.sg/sph-gift-of-music

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'Hope in the air as SSO delivers the Gift of Music'. Print Edition | Subscribe