Sing50 Fund: Promoting Singapore songs old and new

Facing the world with an empty heart, I could disappear into the dark.

Those lyrics may be familiar to anyone who lived through the 1980s in Singapore, but a new generation could soon be singing along to Tokyo Square's Within You'll Remain, thanks to the Sing50 Fund.

The fund aims to develop a knowledge of and appreciation for Singapore songs.

This could mean educating youngsters on songs before their time, or introducing current hits to the older generation, said Mr Colin Goh, chief executive officer of The Rice Company, a non-profit arts and cultural organisation which manages the fund.

Mr Goh said: "It's not about National Day songs like Count On Me Singapore or Stand Up For Singapore, but songs like Within You'll Remain by Tokyo Square. Songs my generation remembers, like music from the Pop Yeh Yeh era and raps like Why You So Like Dat.

"Some say that the 60s and 70s were the Golden Age of Singapore music, but others say that it's now. We also want to promote an inter-generational exchange of young and old."

There are two main ways in which the fund will promote local music. First, it will provide resources such as musical instruments, instructors and learning material to schools. Second, it will hold an annual vocal competition featuring original songs as well as works from Singapore's popular culture heritage.

Sing50 was born out of the annual ChildAid charity concert, which started in 2005 and is co-organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times.

This year the organisers wanted to do more to celebrate the nation's Golden Jubilee and came up with a mega concert on Aug 7 at the National Stadium that will feature popular songs in various languages over the past 50 years.

The organisers wanted the celebration to be more than a one- night affair and this led to the formation of the Sing50 Fund.

While Sing50 is supported by SG50, the official initiative drawing up celebrations to mark Singapore's 50th birthday this year, they are separate projects.

Steinway Gallery, which has been a partner of the ChildAid concerts since 2012, offered to provide the 50 pianos at cost that will be featured at the concert and which will be given to schools after the show.

General manager Celine Goh said: "I think the Sing50 project is a great initiative that dovetails nicely with our mission to nurture young talents ."

The company will transport the pianos to the National Stadium and to the schools, sponsor venues for Sing50 concert auditions and co-ordinate masterclasses for the community with Steinway artists. Steinway Gallery will also donate $50,000 to the Sing50 Fund.

So far, the fund has raised $348,000 from a dozen corporations, three individuals and donors to Sponsor-A-Child: Peter Pan The Never Ending Story fund-raising project. The companies are Allalloy Dynaweld, Keppel Care Foundation, Mapletree Investments, OCBC Bank, SATS, Singapore Post, Standard Chartered Bank, Wing Tai Property Management, Zurich Insurance, Bank Julius Baer, The Hour Glass and Singapore Press Holdings.