Some Sleeves Speak:
We have often been confronted with an embarrassing, 'Well, what are The Sidaislers? I mean, well... what are you?' The answer comes in two words: We sing. We sing of what the world means to us, we sing of Singapore, we sing of love, hope, faith and of running and catching the wind.
We have grown tired of sitting down and arguing with people about faith and charity. So instead of yelling pointlessly for hours on end, getting bad tempers, sore throats and headaches, we sing. We have found that music is a language everyone understands, and so we use music as our medium of communication.
Started in 1965 by the St Andrew's Cathedral, the group originally consisted of girls from St. Margaret's Secondary School. We later expanded to include men and girls from the various denominational groups and are now based at St Andrew's Cathedral.
The Sidaislers have appeared over TV Singapura and Malaysia and made broadcasts over Radio Singapura and Rediffusion, besides singing in churches and concerts halls.
This album is a live recording of one of our performances. Two of the numbers, Dem Bones and Go Tell It On The Mountain, are spirituals which have been rearranged by the group, and the Christmas Calypso On A Day is an original tune based on words by Dr D. T. Niles. Morning Town Ride is one of the many folksongs sung by us, while The Great Spirit, composed by the Colwell Brothers, is one of several MRA songs often sung by the group."
Here's the letter that was written in June 2012:
Hi Mr Lim,
I'm a freelance researcher/writer working on an upcoming documentary on Singapore's national music, and am actually trying to track down existing members of the Sidaislers or Friday Girls (images), whom I believe was involved in the creation of songs such as Singapore Town and To Build A Rugged Society.
Was wondering if you might by any chance have any clues to the whereabouts of any of the members, or could provide any further information, as I've not been able to find much about them. If possible would greatly appreciate it if you could drop me a mail.
When I replied DC came with another note:
With regards to the Friday Girls, I believe that they were also a part of the Sidaislers group from St Andrew's Cathedral so my leads pretty much stem from there.
I actually met a Mr C. recently, who used to be part of the Sidaislers, but unfortunately he doesn't remember who any of the girls are, only that they were students at St Margaret's and that they were mostly Eurasians.
Also came across a book entitled Songs of the Sidaislers in the reference section of the National Library, which contains lyrics to some of the songs they performed. The words and music for the song, There is an Island have been credited to a Susan Cheng but I'm afraid I don't know anything else about her. The other names mentioned in the book were Vernon Perreau and Albany To if that rings any bells.
There was also a Michael Cheng mentioned, but I understand that he passed away many years ago.
I believe they performed as part of the Sidaislers in a National Day Special on RTS in 1967 or 1968 if that's of any help.
Information from record sleeve (image 2) Philips 338706 PF: From left to right are Peggy Daroesman, who is the lead singer, Sandra Bruford, Yvette Chin, Susan Cheng and Rolana Barker.
"The group is accompanied by *The Boys singing Rigi-Rigi and (1967), an Indonesian song. This was the A-side of the group's very first record. They were teenagers at that time The Friday Girls had gone into the recording studios of Philips, Singapore as the backup vocals for Heather Batchen from The Thunderbirds, but ended up with their own record contract (from You Tube comment by Joe Wu, Seattle USA)."
*The BOYS, the top selling band at Philips (Singapore): ROBERT SURIYA was the lead guitarist; PETER THOMAS, rhythm guitarist; MOSES TAY, bass guitarist and keyboardist; while ALPHONSO SOOSAY was the drummer.
If you can help DC with her research please write to me in confidence on the Comment page and I shall convey your message. And to the Friday Girls, if you are reading this, write in. Keep our heritage alive.
Images/article: 1 ami Records/back sleeve cover. 2 Philips Records. Andy Lim Collection.