SINGAPORE – Young performers sang and danced their hearts out at ChildAid on Tuesday, as the charity concert returns in 2022 with a full comeback since the pandemic, raising over $2.16 million.
The 90-minute show, themed All Together Now, got many in the capacity crowd of almost 1,400 guests singing, dancing and clapping as 78 performers aged six to 18 took to the stage at the NUS University Cultural Centre.
The concert, returning as a big bash in its 18th edition after going virtual in 2020 and in hybrid form in 2021, features a fairy tale-like story inspired by the ballet The Nutcracker.
The tale about a group of four friends who journeyed together through strange and enchanted worlds to find their way home is accompanied by songs that included popular anthems from K-pop boygroup BTS, Swedish group Abba and films like The Greatest Showman, all chosen by the performers themselves.
Organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, the annual event raises funds for the ST School Pocket Money Fund, which provides financial assistance to needy children from low-income families, as well as the BT Budding Artists Fund (BAF), which aids artistically talented youth from less privileged households.
In the audience on Tuesday evening were President Halimah Yacob, the guest of honour, SPH Media Group’s chief executive officer Teo Lay Lim, editor-in-chief of the English, Malay and Tamil Media (EMTM) group Wong Wei Kong; and BT editor Chen Huifen.
Mr Wong, who is also chairman of the BT BAF, said: “We titled this edition All Together Now as it’s what a bandleader says to the band to perform in unison.
“It is also an expression of our joy and gladness that we can experience music communally again after two years of pandemic restrictions on live shows.”
Among the performers at the concert are the Addicks sisters – Aika, 12, and Aili, nine – who took the audience back to the 1970s with an Abba medley and got people to sing along with an energetic performance of BTS’ Dynamite.
The two have been performing together for four years now.
Aika said: “Performing is always more fun when I get to do it with my sister. I feel less nervous since I have her.”
Another standout performer was Shalom Shyann-E Ng, six, who wowed the audience with her piano rendition of Fountain in the Rain that accompanied an acrobatic performance by eight young dancers decked in blue and green mermaid costumes.
Speaking to ST before the performance, she said she started learning to play the piano from the age of three and plays pieces at grade 7 level today. She added that playing the piano was one of her favourite things to do – on a par with performing, eating sour and spicy noodles and playing table tennis.
She said: “Actually, I have performed a lot of times, but every time I play on stage I still feel super excited like I was the first time.”
Also stealing the limelight on Tuesday were 13-year-old Lim Jing Rui, who whistled his way into the hearts of the audience with Queen Of The Night from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and a group of seven tap dancers from award-winning tap group Jitterbugs Swingapore.
The concert was produced by Global Cultural Alliance, with Orangedot Productions as creative partner. The main sponsors of the event this year are UOB, Citi Singapore and real estate management services firm Mini Environment Service, while sushi restaurant Shinji by Kanesaka is a platinum sponsor.