Singapore, 21 November 2011 - Characters pop up from what appears to be an open book. They sing, they dance, they celebrate to the concert’s theme of “Friendship and Hope”. This is the ChildAid story for this year, the seventh concert organised by The Straits Times and The Business Times in aid of the two children's charities – The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) and The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BAF). SPMF provides financial assistance to needy school-going children and BAF helps needy children from poor homes pursue their artistic talents.
The showcase of excellence will feature some 130 budding musical talent who will perform at the University Cultural Centre (UCC) at the National University of Singapore from 8 to 10 December. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is the Guest of Honour on the Gala Night on 9 December.
Joining performers from Singapore on stage will be 13-year-old Asami Wada, a guest violinist from Japan, where the first overseas ChildAid concert was staged in January this year to help Japanese children. Some beneficiaries of the Budding Artists Fund will also be performing in this annual concert, now into its seventh year.
The youngest performer is 6 years old, and the oldest, 19. They were selected from scores of applicants who had entered for the auditions, which were held in July. Some of the performers will be accompanied by the NUS Symphony Orchestra (NUSSO) under the baton of Associate Professor Wang Ya-Hui, Music Advisor from the NUS Centre for the Arts (CFA).
Other young performers to watch out for are violinists Wu Shuang, 10, from CHIJ (Kellock) Convent; cellist Aoden Teo Masa Toshi, 9, from Anglo-Chinese School (Junior); pianist Kennis Ang, 10, from South View Primary School; and trio Basil Ong, Carsten Ng, both 10, who play the violin, and Jay Chia, 11, the piano.
Last year's darling of the concert, Nadya Tan, 10, will be performing again this year, this time with her younger sister Natanya, 7.
And all set to wow the audience with their vocal prowess are Jermaine Leong, 13, from CHIJ St Joseph's Convent, who took part in the famous Taiwanese singing competition One Million Star; aspiring singer-writer Charlene Su, 16 and Vera Tan, 8, whose crisp high notes has won her many young fans.
Just as the two funds have increased their reach over the years to help about 90,000 needy children, the production team behind this year's concert has also grown, with new faces coming on board to lend their expertise for the worthy cause.
Joining forces with artistic director Iskandar Ismail, a Cultural Medallion recipient who has been helming the creative reins of ChildAid since 2006, are Jeremiah Choy, show director of Orangedot Productions, stage set designer Randy Chan of Zarch Collaboratives, audio visual designer Brian Gothong Tan, costume designer Moe Kasim, lighting designer Roy Chooi, and sound engineer Shah Tahir.
Said Bertha Henson, associate editor of The Straits Times, who is chairman of ChildAid 2011 organising committee: "We are hoping to raise at least $1.7 million this year, above last year's $1.28 million. The School Pocket Money Fund has plans to take on a higher profile next year, to reach out to even more children who might have fallen through the cracks. SPMF has 9,000 beneficiaries and the number might well climb given that the economic outlook is not as rosy as before.''
Added organising co-chairman Alvin Tay, editor of The Business Times and chairman of Budding Artists Fund (BAF): "It is heartening that 130 of our young musical talents are doing their bit for their less privileged peers. The BT BAF is not just about spotting child prodigies and producing artistes, it's also about using the arts to impart valuable life skills to less privileged children.
"Arts, we believe, can help to develop a child's self-esteem, self-belief as well as creativity -- traits which are so often lacking in these children because of their families' financial backgrounds. In a way, we help to level up the playing field for these children in primary schools."
Unlike previous years, this year's ChildAid 2011 will have an additional show on Dec 10 to allow more members of the public to catch it. Social workers, beneficiaries of the two funds and their families will also be invited to watch the show.
This year's main sponsors for the concert are Citibank and HSBC Bank. The National University of Singapore's Centre for Arts is the official venue sponsor, and the other sponsors include Resorts World Sentosa, BoatAsia, and Cerebos.
Mr Michael Zink, Country Head and Citi Country Officer, Singapore, which has been a staunch supporter of ChildAid since 2002, said: "As part of our commitment to Responsible Finance, we seek to serve the community by being an efficient and responsible bank, and by helping the less fortunate in our midst to improve their quality of life. It is our privilege to contribute to the worthy cause to help underprivileged children reach their full potential and pursue their dreams.
"I am heartened that Citi staff, across all levels, continue to signal their commitment to helping those in need by raising over $1.2 million since 2002 through our vending machines donation drives, vertical marathons and charity golf tournaments."
Reaffirming its support for the charity cause, Alex Hungate, Group General Manager and CEO, HSBC Singapore, said: "HSBC is proud to be supporting ChildAid in providing a stage for young talents to help their peers. HSBC has been a steadfast supporter of education and the arts in Singapore. Our flagship programme is the HSBC Youth Excellence Initiative which has helped artists such as pianist Abigail Sin, violinist Gabriel Ng and most recently, guitarist Kevin Loh to achieve international recognition for themselves and for Singapore. In return each of them has performed in concerts, staged by HSBC, to help raise money for their less fortunate peers through charities such as The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and the Business Times Budding Artists Fund."
On the "unique selling point" of ChildAid 2011, Mr Jeremiah Choy said: "For this year, we have a strong thematic follow-through of the concept of Friendship and Hope that flows from the programming, to the programme booklet, to the presentation on stage."
Thanking sponsors for their generous donations and contributions, and the unstinting services of the production team, Mr Han Fook Kwang, editor of The Straits Times, said: "It's very heartwarming whenever we organise ChildAid and receive such generous contributions, both from our donors and volunteers. We've never been short of help."
8 December, Thursday
Concert starts at 8pm
10 December, Saturday
Concert starts at 5pm
Concert for the Gala Night performance on 9 December is for invited guests.
WHERE TO BUY CHILDAID 2011 TICKETS
Tickets are priced at $15, $20 and $30. You can purchase them:
2) Over the counter
The Arts House Box Office
The Old Parliament House, Old Parliament Lane
The Arts House Ticket Hotline: 6332 6919
Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E
For more information, please contact:
Ms Chin Soo Fang
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID – 6319 1216
Mr Yeo Siew Chi
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID – 6319 1586
Ms Shahrena Hassan
Editorial Projects Unit
English and Malay Newspapers Division
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID - 6319 5097
For queries on The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, please contact
Ms Wee Ngiap Hiang
Editorial Projects Unit
Singapore Press Holdings
DID - 6319 5054
For queries on The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, please contact
Ms Sher-Yen Wee
Corporate Communications & Market Development
The Old Parliament House Limited
DID - 6332 6902
About The Straits Times
The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore.
Quality news, in-depth analyses, impactful commentaries and breaking stories are packaged to give readers riveting accounts of events in Singapore, the region, and beyond.
The Straits Times' key strength is in its world class coverage of news outside Singapore. With 20 bureaus in major cities around the world, The Straits Times correspondents bring world news to readers on a Singapore platter, helping them appreciate world events from a Singaporean perspective.
In keeping with the times, The Straits Times introduced weekly supplements such as Digital Life (DL), Urban and Mind Your Body (MYB) to complement The Straits Times as well as IN and Little Red Dot to cater to young readers in schools. This year (2010), IN won the World Young Reader prize for the Newspapers In Education category. The prize was awarded by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).
The Straits Times also has an online presence at www.straitstimes.com. The site features top stories, blogs and an online forum threads. Also under The Straits Times' umbrella are citizen journalism site Stomp and online television service The Straits Times RazorTV.
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.
Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing
In Singapore, SPH publishes 18 newspaper titles in four languages. Every day, 3 million individuals or 77 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.
Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 265 million page views with 18 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH's online and new media initiatives include an online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; Stomp, omy.sg, and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH also launched The Straits Times’ iPad and enhanced iPhone applications, and The Business Times Weekend's iPad application.
SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 in Chinese and 91.3FM in English.
Events and Out-of-Home Advertising
SPH’s events subsidiary Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s leading Digital Out-of-Home advertising company.
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping belt. Its latest retail development, The Clementi Mall, started business operations in 2011. SPH's wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, has also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.
About The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund
The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund started as a community project initiated by The Straits Times that provides pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school. The children can use this money for school-related expenses, such as buying a meal during recess, paying for their bus fares or using it to meet their other schooling needs. The financial help also eases the burden of the many parents, who are already struggling to feed their families on their meagre incomes.
As the official fund-raiser, The Straits Times raises awareness of the plight of the less fortunate in our society. It also rallies support for the cause and appeals for donations to the fund. It collaborates with different partners, from corporate organisations to interested individuals, for the various fund-raising events.
The Straits Times works closely with the National Council of Social Services (NCSS), the fund’s administrator. The NCSS disburses the funds through its network of family service centres, special schools and children’s homes. Currently, 38 family service centres, two agencies providing single parent family services, 18 special schools/ disability VWOs, six children's homes and the Assumption Pathway School are commissioned to administer the fund.
About The Business Times Budding Artists Fund
Initiated by The Old Parliament House Limited in 2004 and adopted by Business Times in May 2005, The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF) aims to enable children between the ages of five to 12 years distanced by socio-economic circumstances to pursue their aspirations to develop artistic talents in music, dance, theatre, visual arts and theatre production.
The Fund originated from a strong conviction that no child with strong interest and artistic potential should be deprived of the opportunity to develop his or her talents because he or she is economically disadvantaged.
Objectives of the Fund :
- Offer opportunities for financially disadvantaged children who display artistic potential and commitment to be formally trained in the arts.
- Provide platforms for established and professional artists to impart their skills and experience to the next generation of talents. This will mean continual renewal in the creative industry.
- Heighten awareness of the importance of nurturing the artistic talents of children and young adults and the ensuing value of such skills to building the next phase of artistic development of Singapore.