$348k boost for home-grown music

A new fund has been created to preserve and promote Singapore's musical heritage. The Sing50 fund was launched yesterday with an initial purse of $348,000.

It is an initiative that stems from the Sing50 concert that will be held in August to celebrate the nation's Golden Jubilee.

The two-hour concert at the National Stadium will feature iconic popular songs, composers, performers and stories that mark the milestones of music in the 50 years since the country gained independence in 1965.

The fund will build on that by introducing local music to younger generations and the community, and to cultivate in them an appreciation for and love of Singapore music.

It will be used to teach students to sing Singapore songs, and to support the organisation of song competitions and concerts to showcase local vocalists and choral groups.

The first initiative by the fund will be to buy 50 Steinway-designed Lang Lang pianos, at $26,000 each, for use at the Sing50 concert on Aug 7, which is organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times.

After the concert, the pianos will go to 50 primary and secondary schools for music education and choir practices.

The fund was launched at Resorts World Sentosa yesterday by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State for Education and Communications and Information.

She said in a speech: "Music is important to education, and this is why, along with the arts, along with sports and along with PE, the Ministry of Education has been making more and more investments in this area to make sure our students are able to be exposed to as wide a range of the arts as possible."

Calling the fund "a gift of music to the young", Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat said in a statement: "I hope the Sing50 Fund will inspire many to pursue their dreams of making music and celebrating our home."

Last night, an audience of more than 1,000 children from primary and secondary schools was treated to the musical Peter Pan - The Never Ending Story.

The performance was sponsored by Resorts World Sentosa, and through the Sponsor-A-Child to watch Peter Pan fund-raising initiative, 35 companies and individuals donated a total of $68,800 to the Sing50 fund.

The bulk of the initial sum raised came from personal donations by three individuals, Mr David Heng, Mr Daniel Lim and Mr Low Check Kian, and the following: Allalloy Dynaweld; Bank Julius Baer; Keppel Care Foundation; Mapletree Investments; OCBC Bank; SATS; Singapore Post; Singapore Press Holdings; Standard Chartered Bank; The Hour Glass; Wing Tai Property Management Ltd; and Zurich Insurance. The fund is chaired by Mr Edmund Cheng, deputy chairman of Wing Tai Holdings. It will be managed by arts and cultural organisation The Rice Company, and a board of trustees will be formed to oversee governance of the fund.

Mr Cheng said in a speech that "through activities supported by the fund, our future generations will be introduced to Singapore music in delightful ways, and build up a sense of affinity and community among ourselves as Singaporeans".

Mr Jeremiah Choy, show director of the Sing50 concert, said his team is curating "a valuable collection of Singapore music that articulates our national identity and celebrates our nation's diversity".

"This gives us the opportunity to continue promoting and preserving Singapore music and the stories behind them. The Sing50 Fund will support this endeavour."

Student Marcus Ting, 23, was at the launch of the fund last night. He said: "I think it's important that we preserve and remember the music of the past. As a member of the younger generation, I'm interested to understand how such music has shaped the local music scene today."


For more information on the concert, go to www.sing50concert.sg

To donate to the fund, contact teetong_tan@therice.sg

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