It is not often that I have the good fortune of attending four concerts in less than a week, including two Cultural Medallion receipients; so I was elated to be invited to Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ)’s annual musical showcase of talents from the performing arts Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) of the secondary school in Toa Payoh.
There were about twenty items altogether, featuring the Guitar Ensemble, the Dance Ensemble and the Choir. The Guitar Ensemble preformed about ten pieces played by the various groups (Sec 1’s, Sec 2’s, Duet, Quartet, Small group, Mixed groups and Full ensemble) and the best performance came from the soloist whose rendition of La Musique de L’amour (by Paul de Senneville & Oliver Toussaint) was competent and confident. I was otherwise unimpressed by the guitarists, even when they added a violin, a double bass or an erhu in their various pieces. Instead, these girls (the violinist, and the double bass and erhu players) were the ones who shone.
The Dance Ensemble obviously put in a lot of effort. I assume the dance items (at least five) were very good as the award-winning CHIJ dance ensemble has been showcased at the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) and other events. I could not make out what was going on because I was seated in the middle of the school hall and my view was almost completely obstructed by the audience in front).
The best performers were of course the Choir led by Cultural Medallion receipient Jennifer Tham. The choir, which always performs A Capella, has not only consistently obtained the Distinction award over the years at the SYF competitions, but also won many overseas competitions (such as a gold medal in the International Choral Competition in USA) and performed at international choral festivals (such as in China).
Despite the relatively poor acoustics of the school hall, the girls’ voices rang out crystal clear and the vocal range and dynamics were fantastic. Even though I craned my neck, I could hardly see the conductor but I’m sure her instructions, with her expressive and precise hand gestures, must have been very clear and concise as the girls were able to produce big round sounds or precise cut-offs, and were even more impressive with their piano, crescendos and pauses.
I hope for an opportunity to watch a performance by the choir at a better venue.
I was told that, every year, the tickets to this concert were sold out within three days; and as the hall was already three-quarters full 15 minutes befor the start of the concert, I wonder why the school did not consider organising this event at a venue with better acoustics and one that offers seats for better viewing, and allow only children above 6 to attend.