Singaporeans who excel at their craft are once again making Singapore proud.
ONE Chamber Choir (ONE) -- a Singaporean amateur adult choir formed in 2009 -- was crowned "Champion of the World Choir Games 2018" in the "Mixed Chamber" category at the 10th World Choir Games, the largest global choir competition in the world likened to the Olympics of the choral arena.
Conducted by Lim Ai Hooi, they also clinched two other Gold awards in the "Musica Contemporanea" (contemporary music) and "Pop Choirs" categories.
Singapore's national anthem, Majulah Singapura, was also played during the award ceremony.
A total of 298 choirs from 46 nations participated in the competitions, held from July 4 to 14 in Tshwane, South Africa.
Other S'porean choirs
Two other choirs from Singapore -- The Graduate Singers (TGS) and the Nanyang Technological University CAC Choir (NTU CAC Choir) -- also took part in the competitions.
The latter bagged a Gold award in the "Pop Choirs" category and a Silver award in the "University and College Choirs" category.
"S'poreans should be proud"
According to a press release from ONE, Dr Michael Joseph Barrett, one of the Artistic Directors of the 10th World Choir Games, had high praises for the Singaporean choir:
“... I was surprised at not only their musical ability and technical capability - singing music that is truly difficult to perform - but especially with their ability to truly connect with the audience, making them feel something.
This is the true art to choral performance, and very few choirs get this right.
ONE Chamber Choir has mastered this art and it is no surprise that they were crowned World Champions.
They truly deserve this honour and Singaporeans should be proud of these wonderful cultural ambassadors."
Choir members range from students to working professionals
ONE's members range from students in their twenties to working professionals in their forties.
To take part in the competitions, they had to make special requests to be excused from school and work.
Fortunately for Chen Zhengyu, a 34-year-old Chemistry tutor at Meridian Junior College, he managed to take three days of leave from the school's Principal to join the rest of the choir at the competition.
He said although it was "physically tiring" as he arrived in South Africa in the morning of the competition, he was "mentally invigorated" when he met up with his teammates.
Many members also had to divide their time between their regular work or studies, and choir commitments.
According to The New Paper, practice sessions are held every Saturday afternoon, with an extra session added on a weekday evening in the days leading up to the competition.
Despite their hectic schedules, the choir members are not complaining.
22-year-old undergraduate Belle Ng said that her choir commitment is "not a burden" as "hanging out and singing" with her "second family" gives her a break from her daily routine.
You can catch ONE at its next performance on December 16 at the Esplanade Recital Studio where they will be performing a full pop repertoire.
In case you're wondering how they sound like:
Top image via ONE Chamber Choir
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