Thursday, July 30, 2015

'You're The Boy' n 'Shanty' Played By Wind Symphony

It has been my dream to have our Singapore popular music from the 1960's officially recognised and played by an orchestra. I had even put the songs up on *a top ten list on this blog in October 2014. It took the people in charge some time but it has happened! 

So here's good friend John to relate about an evening when he and Silver Strings members were invited to the concert where local 60's melodies were played and sung by our boys and girls from 2015. We made music history...
19th July, 2015
Esplanade Concert Hall
Sunday, 5 pm.
Singapore *Wind Symphony
'Made in Singapore'.

"When the concert Made In Singapore was held, my wife and I were intending to take a trip to Melaka.  However after a bit of deliberation, I decided against it. The reason is obvious.  The traffic situation would be nothing short of chaotic on a Hari Raya long holiday weekend.    So we decided to opt out of Melaka.  I was proudly assuring my wife what to do for the holidays,  that we could go to watch a band performance.

That still left Sunday with nothing planned.  Then I received a message from my buddy Andy Young.  The message included Mindy Lin's (Manager, Singapore Wind Symphony) letter and with Andy remarking that we should all attend the event.  It was almost God sent.  The long weekend was nicely taken care off. 
Not everyone was able to attend but Andy, Ricky Chng (current lead guitarist of the Silver Strings), Audie Ng (leader/bassist) and myself, (drummer) all met at 4.30 pm at the entrance to the Esplanade Concert Hall. We chatted with Henry Chua and Lim Wee Guan of The Quests and other familiar faces.  Frankly I did not know what to expect from the show.

I was impressed by the sheer number of musicians appearing for the concert and they were already in their respective positions on stage. And I always thought musicians for such performances were old and bearded.  How come this group was all so young, including the conductor, Mr Adrian Tan.
Quite understandably, being a Silver Strings member, I was waiting for the Symphony's interpretation of You're The Boy, a song originally recorded by Shirley Nair (deceased) and the group.    Recently it won an award for being the most watched advertisement on  You Tube with about 740,000 viewings!   

When the Orchestra eventually played it, I turned to look at Audie.  I could see him smiling from ear to ear.  Audie had just celebrated his birthday and I told him at the reception after the show that he couldn't have received a better present! The piece played by S.W.S. is very clean and has a very pristine feel to it, the way a love song should be felt by a young girl in love, having just found "the one"!  
(Music Director: Adrian Tan; Composers: Shirley Nair, Henry Chua, Yusnor Ef)

After  enjoying  You're The Boy, I was naturally looking forward to Shanty (Henry Chua/Quests).  When the piece was played and completed I really believe it's awesome, a word that is a little misused these days.  I thought it was very cleverly crafted.  The only recognizable part was the initial verse.  The rest somehow reminded me of some John Williams movie themes. Salute Mr Shun Ng and Mr Jinjun Lee.   I am of the view that all the materials that were used for the Greatest Hits of Tea Dance segment should be recorded and distributed.  That is of course not to say that the other materials should not be recorded as well.  
(Participating: Amni, Gentle Bones, Sezairi, Shabir, Shun Ng, Wicked Aura.)

I am impressed beyond words that a man can compose 250 songs.  It is difficult even to compose two songs but 250!!  Salute to Mr Yusnor Ef (Cultural Medallionist).  And what a fitting tribute to the man to have Amni sing his most prominent compositions. Amni's crystal clear voice and wide vocal range can do justice to any good song and she deserves to be on the world stage.   

As a drummer,  I was naturally attracted to Wicked Aura.  However, in fairness, it is not only the performance of Aura, it is the total package,  the arrangement and the way it is integrated into the vibrant sounds of S.W.S that make the performance sound unique and exciting. 

The timing of the entire team and the S.W.S. is musical precision engineering.   All the other artists and musicians are truly a credit to the whole show as well. What an outstanding cast!  Well done!  Gentle Bones, Sezairi and Shabir, a truly magnificent show guys!
(Arrangers: Benjamin Yeo, Eric Watson, Danial Ariffin, Daren Sng, Gregory Gu Wei, Jinjun Lee, Mohd Rasull, Syawal Kassim, Tan Yang Zhang, Terrence Wong.) 

Congratulations to all who were involved in this event led by Mr Adrian Tan, musical director of the symphony and manager Mindy Lin.  A lot of work and planning went into the production. However its success can easily be measured and appraised by the number of happy and contented faces I saw as the audience was reluctantly leaving the concert hall. 

Bands such as The Thunderbirds and vocal group The Crescendos whose works were also featured and others like The Silver Strings and Quests have been around for the last 50 years or so.  After witnessing all the talents who appeared in Made in Singapore I am confident that the Singapore music scene is here to stay!"

Did you attend the concert? Tell us your views.
Apologies to the other talented composers and artistes if their works and names have not been specifically mentioned or included in this write-up. 

My thanks to John Cher (left) who wrote this article faster than greased lightning.

*A wind symphony provides all voices from a traditional orchestra using only wind and percussion instruments. That is, there are no string sections: violins, violas, and cellos. This is done by adding many more brass and woodwind players and percussionists playing both pitched and rhythm instruments. A wind symphony may employ the occasional harp or string bass and soloists on any instrument.
[Symphony Friends: Rickie Chng, Andy Young (Silver Strings), Yusnor Ef (Composer), Ho Chee Mun (SWS Chairman), Audie Ng, John Cher (Silver Strings), Henry Chua (Quests).]

Images: Souvenir Programme, You Tube, Google, A Personal Collection.


JK said...


Yusnor Ef said...

Dear Andrew,
I feel touched by your article.

Mindy Lin said...

Thank you so much Andy!

AUDIE NG said...

Thanks for all the images and proud to listen to a full orchestra especially playing pops and our Silver Strings song. Thanks to you that we have the chance to attend this fabulous show.

For some it was too much of a musical especially those songs. 'You're the Boy' should be sung by a young female and with the wind orchestra backing which will be fantastic. I think musicians and concert goers will appreciate the show while others may find it boring.

Overall it was a great concert.

Again thanks Andy and the Wind Symphony group for inviting us.

chakapchakap said...

Thanks for the visit from WIND SYMPHONY'S FACEBOOK:

Chang Yayin
Ang Guangyi Stuart
Nilnaw Gned
Mohd Fahmi
Suky Eng
Alfri Md Yusoff
Tian Aw Yong
Melvin Goh
Jeanette Yeo
Benjamin Yeo
Johan Ezran
Azman Shah
James Quek
Apo Hsu
Henry Chua
Samuel Yau
Erwin Erwinn
Mohd Rasull
Luo Tianze
Willie Ta
Ron Macaraan
Colin Ng
Kenneth Zhong
Danial Ariffin Azman
Denyse Thoe
Simon Yao
Koh Chee Kang
Vivian Goh
Iskandar Rashid
Amni Musfirah
Tan Yan Zhang
Ching Hong Percussion Ang
Shunta Goh
Hemendra Raj
Goh Wei Zhen
Samuel Lim
Caroline Tan
Gregory Gu Wei
Richard Png
Edric Liew

(As of lst August, 2015).


...This is one of the few blogs I read regularly as it is a treasure trove of memories and information on the golden age of local music.

What an honour it is for the SWS to be recognised by some of Singaore's music legends.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the comments and support. I must thank Mindy for getting us involved. The refreshment and interaction with some of those in charge were interesting. It was a stimulating evening, and as I have written in my introduction to John's write-up, it was an experience to remember.

Thanks to Adrian Tan Musical Director of SWS for recognizing this rather unprofessional blog. I am glad you could 'learn' a little from it.

We can hope for more of these concerts, can we not?

gypsiedreamer said...

Dear Andy,

Biggest credits go to our Project Manager Melvin Goh, who was the main person behind the scenes putting together the concert production! He was so busy he was not able to meet you guys!


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

1st August, 2015.

Hi Melvin,

1) I hope you read this note. On behalf of the Silver Strings and myself, thank you for the beautiful evening of exquisite music you helped put together. We are truly glad to be part of that evening's entertainment.

2) And Mindy, I'm still waiting for some photographs of yourself, Melvin and others should you decide to put them up on this posting.

2nd August, 2014.

3) Appreciate the many SWS members and friends who visited this post via Facebook and whose names have not been listed.

I hope you will read the other postings on this blog and find the information useful. The Seniors are learning from the Young too as always,