Hearing-impaired choir gives first performance

Hearing-impaired choir gives first performance
This photo shows students from the Singapore School for the Deaf learning to control their voice using an iPad app.

SINGAPORE - They are deaf. Which makes talking a challenge in itself.

But earlier this month, these eight students from the Singapore School for the Deaf (SSD) gave a vocal performance at a charity gala dinner at Marina Bay Sands.

The students, aged eight to 14, each sang "ooh" at a certain pitch. With the help of a conductor, they presented various tunes and chords.

Their two-minute performance is believed to be the first of its kind here. One of the students, Khoo Si Tian, 12, says through an interpreter: "I'm so happy I can sing. I never knew music would be part of my life."

Mahadeer Sali, 15, adds: "Learning to sing has made me more confident."

Both were born with severe hearing loss. They can't hear conversations or even alarms bells. They communicate mainly through sign language and can only speak certain words and phrases. Neither thought they would ever be part of a choir.

They are guided by two conductors from Sentire Singapore, a charity initiative that brings music and arts to people with disabilities.

One of the conductors, Mr Amos Chia, 23, came up with the idea for a vocal performance by the deaf in January.

He says: "I wanted to help them overcome their fear of using their voices. Their voices are perfectly fine. They are afraid they can't control how they sound."

Mahadeer admits: "When I tried to sing, I was scared I would sound funny."

It was only through practice and guidance that he learnt how to control his pitch and volume.

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