Yule­tide swing

The choir of The Phil­har­monic So­ci­ety of Se­lan­gor re­turns to stage for a bilin­gual christ­mas con­cert.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ARTS - By RE­VATHI MURUGAPPAN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

IT’S that time of the year again where we re­flect, re­joice and make merry. So why not put on your best voice and sing along with The Phil­har­monic So­ci­ety of Se­lan­gor to cap the year?

The com­mu­nity choir last staged a Christ­mas pro­duc­tion al­most a decade ago, but come this weekend, the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre in Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Se­lan­gor will be filled with en­thu­si­as­tic voices in Songs For The Sea­son.

The choir will present a con­cert of sea­sonal de­lights from tra­di­tional mu­sic to con­tem­po­rary crowd favourites.

From Vi­valdi’s soar­ing Glo­ria to the sea­sonal chest­nut Win­ter Won­der­land, this year’s reper­toire will fea­ture an imag­i­na­tive mix of Christ­mas car­ols in English and Kris­tang.

Kris­tang, which is a cre­ole lan­guage and clas­si­fied as en­dan­gered by Unesco, is mostly spo­ken by the Kris­tang com­mu­nity (mixed Por­tuguese and Asian an­ces­try) in Malacca.

As Kris­tang is rarely heard in per­for­mances such as th­ese, this bilin­gual con­cert is a rare treat.

“Most peo­ple en­joy singing and this time around we’ve made it very ca­sual. There will be lots of au­di­ence in­ter­ac­tion be­cause we want them to be part of the show and get into the fes­tive mood.

For some of the songs, we will have a screen with the lyrics on it so the au­di­ence can sing along. We’d like to ex­pose peo­ple to many dif­fer­ent songs,” says Ch­eryl Teh, the so­ci­ety’s chair­man and choir di­rec­tor.

Mem­bers, rang­ing in age from 10 to 81, have been re­hears­ing since Au­gust to get their act to­gether.

This com­mu­nity choir is made up of young­sters, stroke vic­tims, can­cer sur­vivors and se­nior cit­i­zens.

Last weekend, the choir had to at­tend a “boot camp” to en­sure all the tech­ni­cal­i­ties were ironed out. It was song, and a lit­tle dance, all the way! In­deed, to add zing to the choir, dance steps and easy move­ments have been in­cor­po­rated, mak­ing it a lit­tle more stim­u­lat­ing for the singers.

“The 10-year-old singer (choir mem­ber) has 55 grand­moth­ers to dote on her!” laughs Teh.

“Be­cause we are a com­mu­nity choir where any­one can join in with­out au­di­tion­ing, I have to keep the songs sim­ple.

“A lot of them do not know how to read notes so that’s a chal­lenge and yes, they some­times grum­ble that the songs are hard but I don’t pull back. In my song se­lec­tion, I try to be sen­si­tive to all races and re­li­gions.”

For a num­ber of the mem­bers, this is their first show and they are clearly ex­cited.

Teh, who has helmed the choir since 2009, says, “Singing is an out­let for stress re­lease. It also gives the re­tirees, es­pe­cially the empty nesters a good chance to spend time with fel­low mem­bers, make new friends and learn to be tol­er­ant of oth­ers.

“Our so­ci­ety doesn’t have many ac­tiv­i­ties for se­niors, so they tend to sit at home and while their time away. If they’re not babysit­ting their grand­kids, they may be­come de­pressed. Nor­mally they would be watch­ing their grand­kids per­form, but this time it’s the other way around.

“The choir is one way for them to do some­thing fun and my way of giv­ing back to so­ci­ety. We’re all vol­un­teers but we want to build a com­mu­nity in har­mony.”

The self-funded choir re­ceived a grant from Kakiseni this year, en­abling it to have added re­sources. There will be five shows over two days, each last­ing just over an hour. Teh will be ac­com­pa­nied by pian­ist Nish Tham. So, bring your fam­ily and en­joy the con­cert.

“Don’t for­get, singing also keeps you young!” says Teh.

Songs For The Sea­son is on Dec 21 (2.30pm, 5pm and 8.30pm) and Dec 22 (2.30pm and 5pm) at the Da­mansara Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre, Em­pire Da­mansara, Jalan PJU 8/8, Da­mansara Per­dana, Pe­tal­ing Jaya, Se­lan­gor. Tick­ets cost RM23 and can be pur­chased online at www.dpac.com.my or by call­ing 03-4065 0001.

United in song: don’t miss The Phil­har­monic So­ci­ety of Se­lan­gor choir’s english and Kris­tang con­cert led by ch­eryl Teh (right) this weekend.

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