A prom to dance at

Orchestra of the Music Makers is a home-grown amateur ensemble, comprising of National Servicemen, music undergraduates or musicians pursuing careers outside of music, who volunteer their time to share their love for music.

The Orchestra of the Music Makers (OMM) is getting a little jiggy in its third annual OMMProm.

Held in collaboration with the Esplanade, OMMProm 2014: Rhythms And Rhapsodies celebrates the iconic dances of the 20th century, showcasing the works of Aram Khachaturian, Sergei Prokofiev and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

OMM's music director, Professor Chan Tze Law, 50, tells Life!: "After two 'nationalistic' themed concerts, we thought it might be interesting to do something else. Otherwise, our audience members, the more loyal ones, will be stuck in the nationalistic theme."

He is referring to the 2012 and 2013 editions of OMMProm, which focused respectively on pieces written by French and American composers such as Maurice Ravel and George Gershwin.

"The orchestra thought about what were the other genres that music would connect to, other than nationalistic themes, and a very logical one, would actually be connecting to other art forms," he continues. "We believe that it will appeal not just to new audience members but also to loyal supporters. Dance- and music theatre- related music, it is very approachable."

This year's concert will open with the high-octane and energetic Sabre Dance, which is one of the Khachaturian's most famous works. Excerpts from Prokofiev's famous ballet production Romeo And Juliet will also be performed.Established in 2008, OMM is a volunteer orchestra with more than 150 members with an average age of 23, although not all of them play in every concert. Rhythms And Rhapsodies will feature 90 members. Most members are National Servicemen, music undergraduates or musicians pursuing careers outside of music, who volunteer their time to share their love for music. The orchestra was honoured with the HSBC Youth Excellence Award for Musical Excellence in 2009 and played in the Cheltenham Music Festival and Lichfield Festival in the United Kingdom in 2012.

The Esplanade, which also collaborated with OMM for its two previous shows, declined to reveal attendance figures for the 2012 and 2013 concerts.

However, Prof Chan is confident that the audience will enjoy the programme of this year's OMMProm. "I would say that the very good audience response has inspired the OMM to come up with more interesting concepts for future OMMProms."

This edition will also have the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's principal cellist Ng Pei-Sian, 29, perform the Singapore premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Variations, together with the orchestra.

Ng, who is working with OMM as a soloist for the first time, and who had been coaching the cello section of the orchestra over the past few years, says: "I am very excited to give the premiere performance of this fun piece in Singapore. It is jazzy and dramatic and full of lush melodies we all come to expect from any of Lloyd Webber's best-known musicals."Lloyd Webber, who is known for composing well-loved musicals, such as Cats The Musical and The Phantom Of The Opera, penned this series of 23 variations of Paganini's 24th Caprice as a forfeit for losing a football game bet with his brother, Julian, a cellist.

In this rhythmic piece, the audience can look forward to "how one simple theme, in this case from Paganini's 24th Caprice, can be developed by another composer in his unique style", says Prof Chan, adding that Variations is "a virtuosic work for cello solo and orchestra originally written for a rock band, but in a style familiar to his fans of the West End theatres and Broadway".

Through such works, he says it is the orchestra's hope that the concert "will help audiences connect to the vital role that music plays in people's lives, particularly its significance in other genres such as dance and theatre".

Book it:

OMMPROM 2014: RHYTHMS AND RHAPSODIES

When: Saturday, 5pm

Where: Esplanade Concert Hall

Admission: $15 (concessions at $8) from Sistic (call 6348 5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

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