To sing and to heal

Med­i­cal stu­dent Lau Yen June has an­other pas­sion she be­lieves can truly help peo­ple, writes Den­nis Chua

New Straits Times - - Groove -

LAU YEN JUNE fell un­der the spell of mu­sic when she was 5. “My mother and I love mu­sic and mu­si­cals. As a kid, she told me her duty as a doc­tor was to heal the sick and pre­vent dis­ease, and this in­spired me to want to join her in sav­ing lives,” says Lau, 24.

“At the same time, she dis­cov­ered my in­ter­est in mu­sic, and en­rolled me in piano classes when I was 8. I spent 10 years learn­ing it, and it was my win­dow to mu­si­cals be­cause I played their songs.”

Born in Am­pang, Se­lan­gor, Lau stud­ies medicine at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester in the United King­dom. Dur­ing her fi­nal year of a seven-year de­gree pro­gramme, she was ac­tive in cho­ral singing, mu­si­cals and the­atre.

“I was ex­posed to mu­si­cals in my teens, quickly ap­pre­ci­at­ing them since they were colour­ful with catchy songs that cap­tured au­di­ences. I oc­ca­sion­ally fol­lowed my mother to visit rel­a­tives in Lon­don and there, at­tended ma­jor West End mu­si­cals like

Lau started singing early. “Dur­ing my school­days at Seko­lah Je­nis Ke­bangsaan (Cina) Chung Hwa, Jalan Da­mai, Kuala Lumpur, I was part of the school choir. Then, at 13, while study­ing in Wes­ley Methodist School, Sen­tul, I won my school’s an­nual singing con­test,” she says.

Lau fol­lowed in 2004 and 2005, and was a staunch sup­porter of the first sea­son’s win­ner Ja­clyn Vic­tor. “Ja­clyn’s win­ning num­ber

is my all-time favourite Malaysian song. I loved it so much I sang it while au­di­tion­ing for M Voice, a singing con­test in­volv­ing Malaysian stu­dents at my univer­sity in 2014.

“I didn’t win, though, but the judges com­mended my act. I was one of the fi­nal five!” says Lau.

She then joined the all-girl group The Ac­ci­den­tals at univer­sity, and was the only Malaysian among the 10-mem­ber choir.

“The Ac­ci­den­tals have been per­form­ing around the UK — we joined the English A Cap­pella Cham­pi­ons held in Birm­ing­ham and Lon­don and won in 2013 and 2015,” she says.

Lau will per­form at the pop­u­lar Ed­in­burgh Fringe Fes­ti­val later this month, and her group will be part of the mu­si­cal

Be­sides join­ing The Ac­ci­den­tals, Lau is also in­volved with the Manch­ester Stu­dent Coun­cil Big Band, which com­prises 30 stu­dents from the univer­sity.

With the Big Band, she has per­formed at two Bri­tish mu­sic fes­ti­vals: The Pan­gaea Mu­sic Fes­ti­val in 2015 and the Great North Big Band Fes­ti­val last year. She is equally ac­tive in plays and has ap­peared in four mu­si­cals at her univer­sity.

Lau started her own YouTube chan­nel, ti­tled in 2011. To date, she has up­loaded 13 videos of her per­form­ing cover ver­sions of pop­u­lar songs.

“Mu­sic and medicine go well to­gether. Both heal peo­ple.

Mu­sic, in par­tic­u­lar, is very ther­a­peu­tic.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.