Life Style

More than 1,000 musicians belting out for ChildAid in 2 virtual choirs

Organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, the ChildAid 2020 concert debuting online tomorrow night will feature not one, but two virtual choirs – and one of them will make history as one of the most internationally diverse virtual choirs ever assembled.

Led by maestro Wong Kah Chun, the Singaporean chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony, the choir comprises more than 1,000 singers and instrumentalists from 25 countries, including Japan, the United States and China. They have come together to perform and sing Beethoven's Ode To Joy, in part to mark the legendary composer's 250th birth anniversary.

The musicians include members of the Chicago Symphony, Dresden Boys Choir, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, National Centre for Performing Arts (China), New York Philharmonic, Nuremberg Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus and Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo.

The musicians recorded and uploaded performance videos of themselves, which were then synchronised and composited by production company Rolton Productions in a painstaking process that took many weeks. Maestro Wong says: "At a time when physical borders are more necessary than ever to fight the pandemic, we want to connect the world through music."

Meanwhile, the second choir debuting in ChildAid 2020 tomorrow night comprises more than 150 singers performing A World To Imagine, the theme song of ChildAid. More than half of the cast are previous child performers of ChildAid; a few, such as Syakirah Noble, Lewis Loh and Amni Musfirah, have become professional musicians.

ChildAid's artistic director Jeremiah Choy says: "Doing a virtual choir meant I could bring back some of ChildAid's best singers over the years, to create a lush and rich rendition of our theme song like it's never been sung before."

The two virtual choirs make up the finale of ChildAid 2020, which also features pop stars Nathan Hartono, Benjamin Kheng and Jasmine Sokko, as well as jazz musicians Jeremy Monteiro and Joey Alexander.

ChildAid 2020 will be a concert like none seen in Singapore. It employs cutting-edge technology so you can watch and listen to it in a 360-degree sphere. By moving your viewing device left or right, up or down, or all around, you can view the concert in all directions – as if you are right there in the room with the performers.

The Ambisonics surround sound modulates itself as you move the device, so it is best to watch the concert on a smartphone or tablet, with headphones or earphones. For an even more immersive experience, use virtual-reality goggles.

The concert raises funds for The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, which help thousands of children from low-income families pay for their lunch and transport fares, and pursue the arts respectively.