Monday, September 01, 2014

Learning Rachmaninov's Music With My Grandson

A Teacher's Day Posting:

It isn't easy for an 8 year old to watch a live orchestra play *Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 unless the child has had some classical music background or enjoyed a concert previously.  But there was an audience of children with enthusiastic families who watched our Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) perform at the Republic Polytechnic at Woodlands on Thursday evening at 7.30pm at the institution's Cultural Centre Theatre. My grandson was one of them.

We travelled 40 minutes in dense after-office traffic to reach the concert in record time, just two minutes before Lan Shui (left), the conductor for the evening's concert, walked up to his podium to conduct Rachmaninov's work.  

The SSO On Campus: Pre-Tour Concerts Programme, which was given out at the lobby, helped me to understand in simple terms what the piece was all about.  For my grandson, I was just glad that he agreed to attend the concert and watch the wonderful musicians performing on stage.  It was his second time listening to a symphony orchestra (read other posting on Jason Lai).

He nearly lasted the full hour and as he showed signs of tiredness about 10 minutes before the end (he came direct from school and a long afternoon) I told him to pay attention for just a little bit more but an encore performance surprised us and we were treated to one in the form of a short March which kept everyone enthralled to the end.  The applause was deafening.

It was well worth the trip.  And, as usual, the audience triumphed as much as the musicians who, with their magnanimity and dedication, were on stage to perform so magnificently.

"Would you like to come again Josh," I asked him.

"Not tonight," he said sleepily but from his cheeky grin I knew he enjoyed every moment.   At 10pm we had chicken rice in Thompson Road because we didn't have dinner earlier.  

Once again, thank you Lan Shui and the SSO for making our outing such a precious one. And thanks to little Josh for agreeing to come at the last minute...

A Happy Teacher's Day everyone.

(This posting is dedicated to Ms Chong Y.L. who feels that the date for T.D. should have never been changed.  I agree.)

*A Programme Note about the piece, written by Ruth Rodrigues, can be read by clicking Comments below.
                 Venue: Republic Polytechnic Cultural Centre Theatre @ Woodlands:

The 1,000-Seat Theatre:

Modelled after the famous Kirishima International Concert Hall in Kagoshima, Japan, the auditorium boasts an acoustic design worthy of international music performance. 

A highlight of this auditorium is its ability to turn into a full fledged concert hall capable of full scale musicals in just 45 minutes.

Image 1, 2: SSO Website.
Image 4: Google. 
Image 5:
Information on theatre:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Quests: 'Mr. Rainbow' 1968 from 'Teenage Opera'

              The Quests, Mr Rainbow (1968). Video: zoundcracker

Allan Thompson, a regular writer on this blog, wrote to me a few days ago after reading the last posting about the SS 50th Anniversary gig: 

"Congratulations on the great success of the Orchard Road and Silver Strings concerts.  You really do have a great music scene in Singapore and it is good that the veteran artists receive such a wonderful reception."

NB: It is a learning experience for me and I am guilty again of not finding out the origin and composer of some songs that I am aware of.  Again, a big thank you Allan for providing this piece of information.

About the song: Mr. Rainbow.

Dear Andy,

I have recently realised that The Quests have a connection with my friend, John Alder, better known as Twink, who was the drummer with Tomorrow.  

The Quests covered Mr. Rainbow which was one of the songs recorded by Tomorrow for Mark Wirtz's ill-fated Teenage Opera project.  Twink himself recorded a version of the song several years later. 

The version by The Quests is very good and comes close to the original.  Mark Wirtz actually resurrected the Teenage Opera on CD a few years ago by bringing together all the recordings of the original music which had been made by various musicians back in the 1960s. 

                     Mark Wirtz: A Teenage Opera recorded in 1967.

It is a great shame that after the success of Grocer Jack and, to a lesser extent, Sam, the opera did not materialise at the time.  I have much more information on Twink/John Alder if it is of interest to you.

Congratulations once again on the successful reunions.

Best wishes, 
Allan Thompson.

(Allan Thompson: Information Copyrights Reserved).
You Tube Video: zoundcracker.
Recording/Poster from EMI Music.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Active Aging Well Supported: Pioneer Generation Package Posted @ Orchard: Silver Strings Delivered

Mustapha sings Elvis.
Bobo n Rickie: both lead or rhythm
     The capacity crowd at RELC International Hotel, Singapore.

Dear Andy,

Last Saturday evening was memorable for all members of the Silver Strings including the resident singers. My congrats to Audie Ng and the organizing committee for a wonderful effort in bringing back lots of memories of our younger days. I do admire some of the guests in the audience showing so much energy by rocking and rolling to the good old music.

I am sure many of us will strongly support the revival of local 60's music and we do hope to have more performances in the years ahead.

For others who could not attend last week and for those overseas, they may wish to view some videos uploaded by me.

Fabian Foo.

(View Mr Foo's videos above and on the right side-bar of this blog.)

Below: Danny Boy drums and Audie bass.

   Young Ones in the audience who, "Live while the flame is strong..."


 Andy and keyboardist Nick.

                       Another young 'un with Herb (Beatle of Malaysia).

Hey Singapore, we've got a community here. The army of seniors from 60s pop culture was back to conquer Orchard Road last night. And the turn out of followers for Silver Strings Night was a good full house at the RELC Auditorium on 16th August, 2014. 

                      Below: Larry (MC), Audie and Jerry (MC).

                  Herb and Mike with Elvis impersonator Mustapha              

"RELC rocked tonight with Veronica Young, Ernesto and Greg, Mustapha, Mike and Herb, Andy Young and company at the Silver Strings 50th Anniversary Concert ... (from Alice Chong FB)"

                 Seniors seeing Silver Strings swing Sixties songs.

Photos put up are the clearest I could get on FB from dear friends Irene Yap, Richard Toh, Tan Soo Khoon, Veronica and Marissa DC:
1. From left the Silver Strings group at RELC International Hotel in Orange Grove Road: Nick, Herb, Mike, Ernesto (guest artiste), Andy, Danny Boy, Audie, Veronica, Bobo, Mustapha and Rickie. 

           2. The audience and supporters made the show possible. 
                          3. Tan Soo Khoon, former MP and music-maker.

Ernesto and Larry.

Mustapha, Herb and brother Mike

Veronica and Andy

Audie (bass/leader) and Nick (keyboard).

Rickie and Bobo (on and off stage).

                Danny Boy, percussionist, interviewed by journalists.

 Sound engineer Patrick checking the system before performance

           "I'm sending you a big bouquet of roses..." Thank you.
           "Nice bouquet for a gentleman," from Lim Kuan Min.
                Mike and Herb rocking the house with Wooley Bully.

                  Full house at RELC International Hotel Auditorium.

                 Audie on guitar and Mustapha wooing with roses.

                                   Veronica, young on screen.
                       Larry Lai, MC with the most distinctive voice.
                             Click to read the 50 plus comments below.

Images from FaceBook of:
Irene Yap, Marissa DC, Veronica Young, Richard Toh, Tan Soo Khoon and Audie Ng. Thank you all.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pop Group Anniversary: By Eddino Abdul Hadi

         Image: From The Straits Times Press: 16th August, 2014.

Article rank

A three-hour, 45-song reunion gig – that is how Singapore band The Silver Strings, a familiar name from the 1960s music scene, are celebrating their 50th anniversary. The show will be held tonight at the RELC International Hotel. Bass player and...

Copy/Paste to sign in page:

Article by Eddino Abdul Hadi (Music Correspondent) and photograph are Copyrights Reserved.

(This space has been reserved before the actual posting - thus the difference in the blog date.)

TODAY Newspaper, "You Really Should Go." By Christopher Toh

TODAY newspaper on-line extracts:

Article by Christopher Toh:

"Singapore’s Silver Strings have another anniversary do — and you really should go."

Last year's show in November 2013

"To be honest, only three of us are from the original group from 1963/64: *Myself, Andy and Veronica. The rest are the so-called second or third generation members of the band,” (Audie Ng, right) explained. “I didn’t think it was appropriate to call it our 50th anniversary show because I couldn’t get all the people back in. I would have to get all the singers and musicians, all seven of them. But it’s difficult to do that.”

Veronica, dubbed Singapore’s Millie Small, gave a lively performance (yes, she performed My Boy Lollipop by Millie Small), still hitting those strident notes in style as she took over the final third of the show. 

Andy Young — Singapore’s answer to Paul Anka — was more energetic than the man himself as he ran through some of Anka’s popular tunes.

But what was amazing was the crowd’s reaction. Sure, most of them were my dad’s age, but the energy at the gig was fantastic. They were fans and they did what all fans did: They sang along with all their heart, they clapped and cheered lustily when each song ended, they even asked for selfies with Veronica and Andy. 

This Year's Show on Saturday, August 2014:

This weekend, The Silver Strings are getting back together with Veronica, Mike & Herb, Andy and Mustapha Al-Johary, who are all flying in from countries as far as France, New Zealand and Australia.

This year’s show is meant to be a big affair. It will also be hosted by Jerry Fernandez and you’ve also got popular host of the past Larry Lai and musician Ernesto Valerio (sometimes called Singapore’s Dean Martin).

*Factually Danny Boy (drummer, left) is from the original group and came before Veronica Young (left) was on the scene in 1963-1964.

For the full two-page article please check TODAY online by Copy/Paste from:

Article: from Today Newspaper 14.08.14. by Christopher Toh (Music Correspondent).

Logo image from Today Newspaper Copyrights Reserved.
3 Photographs are displayed only on this posting.