Music Makers add oomph to ChildAid

The orchestra will play contemporary piece with electronic elements at the year-end concert

The audience at the year-end, Electric Edition-themed Child Aid concert will get to hear the Orchestra Of The Music Makers (OMM) play a contemporary piece with electronic elements.

It will also back up 140 other performers in an eclectic programme that includes song-and-dance pop numbers, classical music performances and dance genres from ballet to hip-hop.

The 70 musicians from the orchestra, which won the HSBC Youth Excellence Award for music in 2009 and which comprises volunteer musicians averaging 23 years in age, will play Mothership. The piece by American composer Mason Bates premiered at the Sydney Opera House last year, played by the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011.

The Orchestra of Music Makers' artistic development manager Wilford Goh, 19, who oversees the programming committee that mooted playing the piece at ChildAid, said: "We wanted to do something not within the normal convention of what we do, classical music in a formal setting. We wanted to work with modern concepts and modern music."

The electronic elements in the piece come from percussion effects which would be controlled by a laptop computer.

The orchestra will play under the baton of Associate Professor Chan Tze Law, 48, the group's music director.

He said of Mothership: "It's mostly quite rhythmic. The basic concept is that the orchestra is the mothership and you have four soloists.

"These soloists approach the mothership and dock. What these 'dockers' do is that they are given only very brief guidelines by the composer on what they play, then they improvise."

The music score also does not prescribe the instruments for the four improvisatory parts, so the orchestra decided on the line-up.

The soloists are three orchestra members - Tan Yao Cong, 25, on the tuba, Tay Kai Tze, 34, on the oboe and Edward Tan, 25, on the violin. The guest performer is Syafiqah 'Adha Mohamed Sallehin, 22, on the accordian.

Syafiqah, who was talent-spotted by ChildAid artistic director Iskandar Ismail to play with the orchestra, said: "I'm really looking forward to it. I've not played with a professional orchestra before."

The four soloists said they were excited to be performing and that coming up with the improvisations for their parts would be the most challenging.

Violinist Tan said: "You have to be very creative within strict constraints."

To complement the piece of almost nine minutes, visual projections by multimedia artist Brian Gothong Tan, 32, will appear on the LED screens on the stage.

It will be a first for Tan, a recipient of the Young Artist Award 2012, designing multimedia for a live orchestra. He said he would be looking at different space and futuristic imagery for inspiration.

"I'll create different moods to represent different worlds and, ultimately, they will all come together. The music is quite epic- sounding and it's quite young as well, so I see a lot of psychedelic patterns."

Proceeds from Child- Aid will go to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which helps children from low-income families with their schoolrelated expenses; and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, a programme under The Old Parliament House which gives an arts education to underprivileged but artistically gifted kids.

For more information on ChildAid, go to

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