Young Choral Academy’s charity arm, Voices of Hope (VoH), put together a fund raising event aptly titled “Choralthon!” on Sunday 28th June 2009 at the Multipurpose Hall in Segi University College Kota Damansara. Literally meaning a choral marathon, the day featured 7 hours of choral and solo singing. The turnout was excellent, and most of the items on sale were quickly snapped up! Stalls were set up selling yummy cupcakes, sandwiches, nasi lemak, mini chicken pies, drinks and even second hand books.
All proceeds went to Rumah Kasih in Petaling Jaya, and we are pleased to announce that approximately RM11,000.00 was collected that day! A big thank you to all who donated the food and books to be sold, and to all who bought tickets and participated in one way or another. Of course, thank you to all the participating choirs too, who took the time and effort to be part of the event – the Malaysian Institute of Arts Ladies (MIA) Chorus, the MIA Mixed Chorus, the MIA Semester 6 Junior Group, the Dithyrambic Singers, the KL Children’s Choir, SMK Damansara Jaya, Catholic High School, the Young KL Singers and the Young Choral Academy Chamber Choir.
It was a wonderful way to raise money for a good cause and having fun through singing as well!
We, the members of the KL Children’s Choir, sang joyfully at the Young Choral Academy as sweet strains of music accompanied us in the midst of the conductor conducting us.
As the last notes of the piano slowly died, the conductor critiqued our performance explaining to us what we needed to improve. Choral singing is fun but in order to deliver a good performance, we need to have perfect pitch and timing.
We ran through our weaknesses a few times till the conductor was satisfied. When the class was over, we went home mopping sweat from our brows, but eagerly waiting for our rehearsal the next week.
Why, you ask, did we practice this hard? Simple… because we were having fun while preparing for the upcoming Choralthon to be held in Segi College, 28th June 2009. The Choralthon would be held in conjunction with an ongoing marathon in Kuala Lumpur and the proceeds would be donated to charity. We could hardly wait!
A month later, it was the day we had all been awaiting….. The Choralthon!
It started with some speeches by Ms Susanna Saw, the emcee of the day, as well as Mr. Joel Wong of Young Choral Academy and a representative of Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Kasih. Then the concert began ……
First, the Saturday group opened the concert with a few songs, including ‘Kookaburra’, an Australian folk song, and ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. Dancing amidst the singing, they wowed the crowd with their performance.
Next, the Sunday 2pm – 4pm group, with students from levels Elementary to Junior, took over the stage. The Elementary and Novice group sang ‘The Barnyard Song’ while the Intermediate and Junior group, my sister, Clarissa included, sang ‘Lil’ Liza Jane’ and ‘Turn the Glasses Over’. Then the two groups combined for a fantastic performance including the songs ‘We Can Make a Difference’ and the High School Musical song ‘Breaking Free’.
Then, it was my turn, the Sunday 5pm – 7pm group which included the Senior and Advanced level members. The Senior group started by singing ‘Afton Water’ and ‘Bist Du Bei Mir’, a German song.
The Advanced group consisted of only two members, but as the saying goes, sometime less is more. Andrew and Sarah sang beautifully and everyone was mesmerized by their beautiful singing. We then combined the two groups to sing High School Musical’s ‘You Are the Music In Me’.
After the 5pm – 7pm group’s performance, some of us in the Korea group hurried to the changing rooms to put on our costumes for our next event. While we busied ourselves, the audience was invited to sing along with the rest of the choir to Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal The World’ and ‘We Are the World’ in commemoration of his recent passing.
We quickly changed into our costumes and shoes as the makeup moms tie our hair into buns and pinned orchid hair clips to our hair, touched up on our makeup and attached kerongsangs to our blouses. It was a real adrenaline booster and then the moment came when we walked up to the stage.
It was a perfect opportunity for us to showcase our singing in preparation for our trip to Korea in July for the World Choir Championships. Our performance went well as we sang four songs, ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth’, ‘Ayon Laju’, ‘The Mechanical Dragon’ and ‘Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel’, earning loud applause from the audience at the end.
After our performance, Ms Susanna did a post mortem on our singing to highlight our strengths and weaknesses, which I really appreciated. We were advised to be more expressive through our facial expressions and body language, and to sing from our hearts in order to captivate the audience.
It was then the end of the children choir category, so most of us proceeded outside to have some lunch, chat and play while our parents mingled with each other. Some of us left for home while some preferred to stay to watch the soloists and other choirs perform.
This Choralthon experience really helped me to grow, believe in myself and gain the confidence to stand tall on stage. Exhausted but happy, I am now ready to face the world in the World Choir Championships.
Korea… here I come!
Melissa Lee Ai Zhen
The KL Children’s Choir
What is Voices of Hope (VoH)?
VoH is the brainchild of one of the Young KL Singers (YKLS) own members, and has since become a volunteer program involving the entire choir. VoH is the choir’s charity spin-off, a way in which the members are able to do their bit for the community by sharing their experiences and companionship with those who need it most. It allows us to give back to the community what community has given us: the support and smiles throughout all our productions and activities. The YKLS has been blessed with a family-like camaraderie amongst its members, and appreciate the richness that each person brings into our lives. With this in mind, we wanted to extend our companionship outside the YKLS circle to the under-privileged members of society, especially children, on a long-term and ongoing basis. Too often have visitors come but once to a home, which does not allow for a special bond to be built and maintained. YKLS hopes to bridge that gap through Voices of Hope.
What does Voices of Hope do?
Currently, our primary project in VoH is working with children from Rumah Hope and Rumah Impian. Each week, volunteers from the choir together with music director, Susanna Saw, visit the home and assist in teaching the children vocal and guitar lesson. Vocal classes are for children aged 5-12 years and guitar lessons are for the older children, aged 12 and above. The vocal class has 30 children and employs the Kodaly method of teaching. The Kodaly method encourages the use of songs and games in the lessons, which ensure rapt attention from the children and enthusiastic participation. The guitar class has about 5 children and is limited to children who are genuinely interested in taking up the art.
What is our hope for the future of Voices of Hope?
Although the program has just been implemented, plans are afoot for the development and expansion of VoH. We are looking to incorporate other children’s homes into our program on top of staging a musical production on the children’s behalf. Activities planned are, and will continue to be, flexible and not strictly confined to music; recently a futsal match was held amongst children from three homes in the Klang Valley, volunteers and friends from YKLS. We hope too that our reach will extend to the old folks and terminally ill in the near future. In a musical sense, we would be thrilled should the music lessons inspire some children to take up music seriously and bring out wonderful talents that remain as yet hidden from us.
The members of the YKLS came together for a common reason, the love of singing and gained a family in the process. In a time of where each of us crave a little more love, a little more humanity and kinship, it seems that music would be the most appropriate “soul food” for us and everyone. It is our pleasure to share this and our hope that you will continue to be a friend of the Young KL Singers and support Voices of Hope as much as you have supported us. Thank you!