An SSO Concert at the Botanic Gardens will always be a treat especially if it's a stone's throw away. But if the enthusiast for classical music is driving his car, then don't complain if there are no parking lots; unless the early bird comes at about 4 pm (concert starts at 6).
A friend and I managed to squeeze into the last lot at the sheltered car park at Nassim Gate. It was a Saturday evening gift from above.
The coffee house (image) around the corner served our purpose since the Symphony Lake was another two minutes walk from there. But a fruit juice at the outlet was near $6.00 and a fizzy drink, $3.00. The 2-hour wait was comfortable as we managed 2 seats in air-conditioned comfort. These were the last seats available.
The concert venue itself was fun. Perspiring with T-shirts and track pants on, both of us had no trouble getting grass space as we squatted on the right wing facing the stage. Because we were sitting on a slope, it was a balancing act throughout the show.
So if you don't have nimble feet and acrobatic skills go further 'upstairs' near where Chopin is sitting with his wife. A better view and you can sit on the more level meadow. No trees behind. The deadly one crashed remember?
It was about 5.30 pm. Sun kept us steaming. But the greens, flora, whispering winds and chirpy birds kept the balance; it wasn't uncomfortable.
The newspapers announced 10,000 persons came. It didn't look that many to me but the figure is possible.
Sharp at 6 pm, handsome conductor Jason Lai, in a polo-T, jumped on the stage like the gymnast he was as he announced the evening's performance. He looked more like a fitness instructor. Fit as a fiddle? 😊 And sporting a whistle-thin moustache too.
Meanwhile, two jets flew above us, drowning Mr Lai's short introduction. National Day coming mah!
The performance was superb! I came just to listen to excerpts from West Side Story and Ritual Fire Dance. But Morning Mood from Peer Gynt (Greg) just blossomed as the Singapore sun started to set.
When Brahms was hardly a minute on, my temporary neighbours started chatting and peanut packets were crackling. First Youth had better attention but Maria and Tonight kept everyone hushed. Some Seniors were humming. (full programme below).
Meanwhile the people kept pouring in; in fact, they kept on coming even when the concert was about to end. Puzzling. One of the passers-by was heard shouting on his phone.
It was a short concert but SSO on stage, with all its Botanic Gardens challenges, sweaty T shirts and wet palms, was a joy to listen to.
While walking to our car we bumped into my friend's old buddy. A member of the SSO he is. Pictures and phone numbers were exchanged.
Thank you, Jason Lai, SSO, The Straits Times and the Botanic Gardens.
22 July 2017 Programme:
Brahms: Third movement (Poco allegretto) from Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90
Bernstein arr. Jack Mason: Selections from West Side Story.
Theme, First Youth, Love Theme Cinema Paradiso:
Falla: "Ritual Fire Dance" from El amor brujo
Dick Lee: Home. (Encore)
Images: A Private Collection, Google.
The video above is only temporary and will be replaced after some technicality.