ChildAid 2015 raises nearly $2m for two children's charities

SINGAPORE - The 11th edition of ChildAid, which kicked off its new decade with a more intimate and jazzy concert on its gala opening this evening, raised almost $2 million.

Proceeds from the concert, co-organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times, of the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) group, will go to support The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (ST SPMF) and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF). This year's contribution brings the total sum raised for both funds to about $12 million since the annual concert series started in 2005.

Guest of honour President Tony Tan Keng Yam, his wife Mrs Mary Tan, and Acting Minister for Education and Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng, witnessed the cheque presentation by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings, after the 90-minute concert at the Grand Theatre of Marina Bay Sands' (MBS) MasterCard Theatres. The cheque was accepted by two ChildAid performers, Sri Dhea Dhanira bte Mohd Riszuan, 10, and Nur Adrianz Bin Kamaruddin, 9, on behalf of the two charities.

MBS is the official venue partner for the fourth year running. The main sponsors of ChildAid are Citi Singapore and HSBC.

This year's concert, featuring 19 acts and 123 performers aged seven to 19 from diverse backgrounds, is more intimate and jazzy, reflecting the style of its new music director, jazz maestro and Cultural Medallion recipient Jeremy Monteiro. Unlike previous editions, this year's line-up was selected by the creative committee instead of through an open call.

It also features a new theme song, Be the Light, composed by two ChildAid alumni, music conductor-arranger Julian Wong and singer Amni Musfirah, and performed by lead vocalists Nur Liwani Izzati, 16, Sasha Suhandinata, 9, Lewis Loh,19, together with the CHIJ Kellock Choir.

Be The Light reflects the direction the ChildAid committee hopes will propel the fundraiser into its next decade.

ChildAid co-organising chairman, who is editor of The Straits Times' Schools programme Serene Goh said: "This concert is about purpose, joy and family. ChildAid performers share those values with one another. I look forward to seeing the show grow as they propel it with their creativity, compassion and caring."

Double-bassist member of the jazz quartet which played two pieces at Friday night's concert and NSman John Koh, 18, added: "I've been blessed with a talent for music, and I want to share this gift and spread the joy of music to others."

Editor-in-chief of SPH's English, Malay, Tamil Media Group, Patrick Daniel said after the gala night opening: "We're delighted to have kept ChildAid going for 11 years. The secret is that, at the end of each year's concert, the performers ask to come back, and the creative professionals who shaped the show from behind the scenes brim with ideas for the next one. Our sponsors too make plans for ChildAid in their annual calendar. It's become quite self-sustaining."

This year is also a special year for the BT BAF as it marks its 10th anniversary.

Co-organising chairman of ChildAid and editor of The Business Times Alvin Tay said: "I am so glad that the many young talents we invited this year said yes to being a part of ChildAid. It was, for many, their first time, and I hope they will forge friendships within our ChildAid family that will last a long time. When friendship and giving go hand-in-hand like they do here, I like to think it is a gift we bestow on the young, and one they will cherish and build on as the years go by"

President and CEO of Marina Bay Sands George Tanasijevich said: "We are pleased to lend our stage to host local and regional talents of this year's highly-anticipated ChildAid. The concert embodies the spirit of our CSR programme, Sands for Singapore, by supporting young talent while benefiting those in need."

Last year, the concert raised a record $2.327 million for the School Pocket Money Fund, which gives financial assistance to children from low-income families to help them through school, and the Budding Artists Fund, which provides fully-sponsored arts training for young people from financially-disadvantaged backgrounds.

ChildAid 2015 is produced by arts and culture organisation, The RICE Company Limited.

There will be a second night show on Saturday, Dec 5th, from 7.30pm.