American's salute to S'pore

American's salute to S'pore

Not content with just watching previous National Day Parades (NDPs) from the sidelines, American Ray Bossi will be decked out in a neon-yellow costume and jiving to national songs in next month's Aug 9 show.

Taking part in his first NDP, the 51-year-old IT consultant, who has lived here for seven years, will be in the opening act of the NDP show that pays tribute to everyday Singaporeans.

While this is Mr Bossi's first time performing with the Singapore Soka Association for the nation's 49th birthday bash, it is his wife's sixth.

Not wanting to miss out on the "fun experience", Mr Bossi, who is still waiting to get his Singapore permanent residency, said: "NDP is very vibrant and high-spirited... and I (can also) repay my debt of gratitude."

He will be among 3,000 performers in this year's light and sound segment, which promises to be "eye-popping, captivating and heartfelt", said David Neo, who heads the show committee.

The "Singapore Spirit" will play out in colourful multimedia and mass displays over four acts, in line with the theme of Our People, Our Home.

Interwoven into the 50-minute show are short films that tell stories of five everyday Singaporeans, including a former convict, an air stewardess and a boy with a disability - characters that Singaporeans can identify with.

Colonel Neo, 36, said the clips will show the challenges that the characters face, and how they overcome them, highlighting the "can-do spirit" of Singaporeans.

He added: "It's about stories of a mother with hope for her child, a story of people overcoming stereotypes, people overcoming their personal challenges to achieve something bigger... We hope these stories can inspire our fellow Singaporeans."

The show will also feature mash-ups of familiar songs, for example, a medley of One People, One Nation, One Singapore and We Will Get There.

This is the first time since 1998 that there is no NDP theme song.

Music director Sydney Tan, 54, said: "The challenge is always how to give it a fresh spin... What I try to work hard at doing is to try and create a narrative for it, try to weave a story through it."

Dick Lee, who is the creative force behind the show, said: "I think that (these great) songs don't get enough airing, they appear once in their own NDPs and then you hardly hear them again.

"I thought that it is time to pluck out some of these and repeat it, and also sort of create a stronger repertoire... We did rearrange it in a more contemporary style to fit the times."

Mr Lee, who directed the 2002 and 2010 shows, has used his 1996 song, Big Island, as a motif of the song-and-dance.

The 57-year-old noted: "I wanted the show to have an element of a pop concert, because that's one thing that people really enjoy... This year, my plan is to make it as colourful and celebratory as possible."

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