Keen international talent for ChildAid

At least 100 applications have come in from India for a slot to perform in this year's ChildAid concert for and by young people.

The strong interest there was sparked by a publicity drive initiated by Ms Payal Nayar, 50, and Ms Shalaka Ranadive, 40, co-founders of an events management company in Singapore, through their network in India.

They worked with a web-based company to publicise the talent search online, and in short write-ups and listings in newspapers there last month.

'We think that there is a lot of talent in India which can be tapped into. If we can make a difference to the lives of a handful of kids as two individuals, it would mean a lot to us,' said Ms Nayar, who is originally from Mumbai and is a Singapore permanent resident.

The eighth edition of ChildAid, the annual showcase here of young talent aged six to 19, will again include talent from overseas.

Organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times to raise money for two children's charities, it has featured guest performers from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Japan in past editions.

ChildAid executive producer Colin Goh said: 'We hope that non-Singaporeans living here will also come forward to contribute to this cause. We have many other nationalities living in cosmopolitan Singapore. At the end of the day, we hope for a good representation of diversity in ChildAid.'

The call for entries in Singapore, which started on April 26, has also drawn interest from international students here.

Jeniffer Park, 10, a fifth grade student at the Singapore American School, sent in a video clip of herself playing the song Italian Polka on the flute.

She said: 'I like this song because it has lots of emotion.'

The American-born Korean, who is a Singapore permanent resident, said she was impressed by an online video clip of ChildAid 2010 flautist Nikolai Song, then seven, performing a solo piece backed by an orchestra.

Said Jeniffer: 'It's going to be a good opportunity to share my talent with other people and help other people who are less lucky than me.'

ChildAid raises money for The Business Times Budding Artists Fund and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund. Both help underprivileged children. Since ChildAid started in 2005, it has raised $5.86 million for the two charities.

The Electric Edition is the theme of this year's concert, which will be staged on Dec 7 and 8 at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theater.

Show director Jeremiah Choy from Orangedot productions said of applicants: 'It'll be good if they can do something that is electrifying. If not, do what they can do best.'

That was what Ananya Samuel, a ninth-grade student from United World College of South East Asia, did. The 15-year-old sent an audio clip of herself singing Colors Of The Wind.

She said: 'I chose this song because I think it has a beautiful melody and a meaningful message.'

In response to requests from applicants for more time to prepare their entries, the organisers have extended the application deadline from last Friday to this Sunday.