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Born to Be performing – Dream Beyond concert brings groups to perform together

October 2015 │ Singapore

It all began with a simple lunchtime concert in 2012, in the lobby of Deutsche Bank’s One Raffles Quay offices and culminated on September 19, 2015, when Deutsche Bank launched its second Dream Beyond concert in partnership with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO).

Last year’s concert was a resounding success, setting the bar high for this year’s event. With 58 regional and local volunteers helping out, the Bank not only involved more staff in the concert organisation, but also the actual performance.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The Deutsche Bank-Singapore Chinese Orchestra Music Programme this year featured a group of 25 students from Rainbow Centre, a non-profit organisation in Singapore that provides special education, early intervention and professional therapy for children with special needs. Dressed in rainbow colours, the students opened the concert with two songs. Singing with the children and accompanied by the SCO were five volunteer singers from Deutsche Bank. The students played handbells, tambourines and triangles along with the songs, bringing a resounding applause from the audience.

The moving performance brought tears to the eyes of many. One volunteer from the Philippines said, “The performance was very touching. I was so moved that I cried throughout their performance.” Rainbow Centre Yishun Park Principal Angela Lee thanked Deutsche Bank after the concert, saying, “No one had ever given our children such a grand stage due to their severe autism, but Deutsche Bank did.” The students were in high spirits after the performance, with many hugging their teachers and families.

For the students, the proud smiles on their parents’ faces were the strongest stamp of approval, and the best confidence booster. Like any normal student, they too, could learn a musical instrument and perform in front of a large audience, with a national orchestra like the SCO no less. A Rainbow Centre student said, “I hope one day I will be able to play solo with the orchestra.”

Dream come true

Dressed in a beautiful blue gown and with the backdrop of the moon behind her, the spotlight focused on the Deutsche Bank-Singapore Chinese Orchestra Music Scholarship recipient Stephanie Ow. The scene created the atmosphere for her solo erhu piece Reflection of the Moon on Erquan, a sad, yet captivating song by famous musician Hua Yan Jun, who lost his sight when he was 34. The audience was then led on a musical journey to experience the life of a visually impaired person -- either by closing their eyes or putting on the eye mask placed in their goodie bag -- to listen to a special collection of sounds from Singapore’s daily life that sound artist Evan Tan blended in with the orchestral music.

Stephanie, with the help of the Deutsche Bank-Singapore Chinese Orchestra Music Scholarship, is in her first year of a Bachelor of Music degree at Singapore Raffles Music College. Grateful to be given the opportunity, Stephanie says, “I am filled with excitement and high hopes about what is to come. At last, my dream of studying in a music institution has come true!”

Stephanie’s last song on stage, Horse Racing, had her performing her erhu with her teacher and mentor, Ms She Ling. The fast-paced song paints an image of racing on horseback and geese flying high into the sky over the Mongolian plains. Parts of the song also had the erhu mimicking the neigh of the horse.

The audience was given an opportunity to perform as part of the orchestra by blowing the whistle (in their goodie bag) to familiar local tunes and melodies from across the globe.

Commitment put in by staff

Ending the concert on a high note were the 13 Deutsche Bank drummers who drummed along to a popular martial arts song. Behind the five-minute performance were long hours of practice with the SCO, at home and whenever the drummers could find time to rehearse together.

With many of them having little or no musical background, the practice sessions not only facilitated the learning of a new skill, but also helped build rapport as a team. One drummer said after the concert, “Thanks everyone for the great team effort.  I am glad to know each one of you.” The experience was not all pure hard work, as one drummer said, “It was a lot of fun!” Indeed, their infectious energy reverberated through the beats to the audience.

Ms Yeoh Phee Suan, a guest from the National Arts Council, said after the concert, “The engagement is from staff all the way to the community, and there is a deep resonance of meaning for everyone who is involved.”

Everyone can perform together

One of the drummers at this year’s concert, said, “This is the second concert that Deutsche Bank has organised, and it is also the second time I am attending, because I had a lot of fun last year. As you can see, there is also a photobooth and a mural.” The mural was one of the many pre-concert activities that guests could engage in. The concept was put together by volunteer/artist Marie-Jose Ged, wife of a Deutsche Bank employee. Speaking on her choice of the phoenix for the mural, she said, ”The phoenix symbolises rebirth and hope as it rises from its own ashes. Similarly, children with disabilities have the strength to overcome challenges and embrace new experiences to create something beautiful whether in music or other domains.”

Speaking on the programme and the concert, SCO Resident Music Conductor Quek Ling Kiong said, “I’ve always believed that music is not only an art form for entertainment. It can inspire, it can educate, and it can engage people. If you have the heart to care and share, everyone can perform together.” More than anything, this concert showed that all of us –beneficiaries and staff -- have hidden talents and can become who we are born to be, if only we are given the platform to shine. And this concert was that platform.

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Last Update: October 20, 2015
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