West Side Story may be just another musical to some people, but for Ms Tai Mee Yin, it brings back memories of her university days decades ago, when she was involved in a play that featured one of its songs.
The 63-year-old retiree was among the more than 10,000 people who turned up at the Singapore Botanic Gardens yesterday for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens.
"The songs played today, such as Morning Mood, were nice, but I came here specially to hear West Side Story, which brings back fond memories of my days in university," said the long-time ST subscriber.
Despite the humid evening, the entire green in front of the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage was packed, way before the concert started at 6pm. Many had to stand around the fringe of the green.
The hour-long concert, conducted by Singapore Symphony Orchestra associate conductor Jason Lai, is sponsored by the Singapore Press Holdings' Gift of Music series, which is in its 12th year.
There were giveaways for early birds, such as paper fans and picnic mats. They were also given sparkling water, which was sponsored by Fraser & Neave.
A book charity drive by the National Library Board also took place. Concertgoers were given a reading sheet, and for every 10 people who read for 15 minutes, a book would be donated to young beneficiaries. In addition, about 2,000 books of varying titles were given out, sponsored by Scholastic, a company specialising in publishing children's books.
The concert started with Morning Mood by Grieg, followed by other pieces such as Brahms' Third Symphony and Morricone's Cinema Paradiso.
Mr Lai concluded the concert with Home, a popular National Day song written by veteran Singapore composer Dick Lee.
Finance manager Shun Chen, 30, was at the outdoor concert with three friends, sipping wine while enjoying the music.
She compared this experience with concerts she has been to in France, where the atmosphere was more formal.
"I enjoy listening to these classical music pieces in an informal setting like this event, where it is livelier and closer to the public," she said.
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Musical treat in the park
More than 10,000 people turned up at the Singapore Botanic Gardens yesterday for The Straits Times Concert in the Gardens, and they were treated to an hour-long performance by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, led by associate conductor Jason Lai. The concert was sponsored by the Singapore Press Holdings' Gift of Music series, which is in its 12th year. The entire green in front of the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage was packed, with some families making a picnic out of the event. But there were more than just classic tunes such as Cinema Paradiso as well as songs from the West Side Story musical to enjoy, as 2,000 books sponsored by Scholastic were also given out.