After a two-year hiatus, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) held its Fundraising Gala Dinner and Concert, titled Guan Grandeur, on 7 October 2022, at the Grand Ballroom, The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Hotel Singapore.
Through this event, SCO raised a total of $946,500. All proceeds will go into the development and operating cost of SCO, of which, $946,500 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Cultural Matching Fund from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. SCO’s Patron Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong graced the event as the Guest-of-Honour together with Special Guest Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Social and Family Development Mr Eric Chua.
SCO’s annual fundraising gala dinner and concert is the most significant fundraising event. Each year, the main theme of the programme and event is inspired by a Chinese instrument. Guan Grandeur sheds limelight on the charming Guanzi.
SCO Patron, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his message, shared about SCO’s recent overseas performance in Germany’s Nuremberg “Klassik Open Air” music festival, one of Europe’s largest, and at the Singapore Embassy in Berlin. The achievements of SCO would not be possible without the support of its donors.
Chairperson of the fundraising committee, Mrs Goh Chok Tong, thanked the donors for their support, “It is encouraging that despite the pandemic, our faithful donors have returned and showed their support to this year’s Fundraising Gala Dinner and Concert. Their enduring support and donations allow SCO to achieve greater heights of excellence and to fulfil its social and artistic mission in Singapore and beyond. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank them for generously supporting SCO.”
Guests enjoyed the event and enjoyed the five-course Chinese fusion dinner accompanied by performances under the baton of Music Director Tsung Yeh. This year is SCO’s 26th year since inauguration, the 18 th Fundraising Gala Dinner & Concert, as well as Music Director Tsung Yeh’s 20th anniversary leading the orchestra. Under the Fundraising leadership of Mrs Goh Chok Tong and committee members Ms Michelle Cheo and Ms Susan Leong, SCO featured the guan as the inspiration for the overall theme and concert programme.
The guanzi, or simply guan, is a cylindrical double-reed wind instrument that has a unique nasal buzzing timbre. This beautiful instrument has an infamous reputation of being difficult to learn and master. We hope to exemplify the charming qualities of guan to our guests in the gala concert through the specially curated music pieces in the programme.
After the guests enjoyed the sumptuous dinner, the concert commenced with Song in my Heart 《小人物的心声 – 家》, a medley of popular community songs Voices from the Heart and Home, arranged by Cultural Medallion winner Law Wai Lun. He was also the Composerin-Residence of SCO from 2012-2014 and 2018-2020.
Other concert highlights include West Beyond the Yangguan Pass《西出阳关》, composed by Jin Shiyi and orchestrated by Wang Chenwei. This piece features SCO’s Suona/Guan Principal Jin Shiyi performing the SINGuan, together with Suona Associate Principal Chang Le, Guan musician Zhang Shuo and Suona musician Meng Jie, in a guan ensemble with the orchestra. The SINGuan was the brainchild of Jin Shiyi and SCO Suona musician Liu Jiang, which took 4 years in the making. “SING” stands for Singapore, hence “SINGuan” can be understood as “a new guan that is made in Singapore”. With the hopes of modifying the traditional guan while retaining the traditional guan sound qualities, Jin Shiyi hopes to attract more youths to learn the guan, ensuring the unending legacy of this beautiful instrument. Xiao Kaimen 《小开门》is a potpourri of folk tunes from Hebei China. This orchestration by Wang Chenwei adds a variety of harmonic colours and textures, including jazz chords, quartal chords, parallel harmony and chromatic progressions, yet preserves the character of the original.
To express appreciation to all donors and sponsors, Fundraising chairperson Mrs Goh Chok Tong, along Maestro Tsung Yeh, serenaded the crowd with the romantic Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Op. 34, No. 2 (On Wings of Songs), and followed by the profoundly moving Tibetan Plateau《青藏高原》. The finale of the evening was concluded by encore piece Glass of Fine Wine《一杯美酒》, also performed by Mrs Goh, to raving applause.
The SCO is very grateful to donors and sponsors who have attended and made donations to make the fundraising dinner a success. All funds raised would help the SCO fulfil its vision of being a world-renowned Chinese Orchestra with a uniquely Singaporean character, and to inspire both Singapore and the world with its music.