Three Generations of One Choral Family

Three Generations of One Choral Family

By Elliot Lim

May 2023

History was made with the premiere of Tre Voci, the first standalone concert by the Singapore Symphony Choruses on 27 May 2023.

In this monumental showcase of vocal excellence, our choral family, comprising the Singapore Symphony Chorus (SSC), Singapore Symphony Youth Choir (SSYC), and Singapore Children’s Choir (SSC), revealed the soul-stirring beauty of classical choral singing to attendees at the Victoria Concert Hall.

Tre Voci proved to be a testament to the choruses’ exponential growth through the years, which included a rebranding in 2020. “The chorus has broadened its repertoire,” Choral Director Eudenice Palaruan shared. “Aside from singing and recording symphonic choral works, the group has also embraced medium and small works equally significant in the choral canon.”

The Singapore Symphony Choruses presented their first ever standalone concert.
Choral Director Eudenice Palaruan
Choirmaster Wong Lai Foon

With a performance primarily steered by voices, the choruses required a more intimate understanding of the songs and how voice parts were interwoven to successfully showcase the true nature of the pieces, explained Choirmaster Wong Lai Foon. “There is more focus on these details during rehearsals in order for singers to have a good understanding of the songs, and what it takes to perform them well."

The auditory affair featured a mix of choral classics and contemporary favourites, which were sung a cappella or accompanied by SSO musicians including Cindy Lee and Nikolai Koval on violin and percussionist Mark Suter.

With the unifying force of our three choral groups on full display in Tre Voci, Bravissimo spoke with a member from each choral group to find out more about their musical journey.

(L-R) Zoe Li, SSCC member; Ena Su, SSC member; Zhang Xidong, SSYC member

Ena Su, SSC member since 1996

What are some lesser-known facts about choral singing?

Choral singing can be physically and mentally demanding as it requires a good amount of stamina, concentration and discipline. It also requires teamwork as each singer needs to listen to the others in order to blend and sing as an ensemble.

Please share a fond memory you had with the choir.

One that stands out is singing Mahler Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”. Words cannot describe the incredible and emotional feeling of singing that wonderful last movement together with the soloists and full orchestra.

Tre Voci is the first standalone concert for the choral groups. How does this historic performance make you feel?

I am always impressed with the enthusiasm and wonderful sound from both the SSCC and SSYC. I am thrilled to be able to perform with all choruses as part of the SSG family.

Singapore Symphony Youth Choir (SSYC)

Zhang Xidong, SSYC member since 2020

What is something that surprised you about being part of a choral group?

The strong bonds that I forged with the youth choir. Singing together has strengthened my friendship with fellow choristers through the shared appreciation of music and forming friendships at countless rehearsals. I grew up with my friends in SSYC and they will be among the dearest people to me in my teenage years.

What is a quality you have developed in your time with the SSYC?

One of the most prominent qualities would be my singing technique. In my time with the training wing, I was mainly taught how to sing the soprano and alto range and after transitioning to SSYC, I was able to settle into my natural bass range. I am very fortunate to be able to hone my bass technique in the youth choir under the guidance of Choirmaster Mrs Wong as well as instructor Mr William.

What is the experience singing with the other choral groups in Tre Voci?

There is a feeling of ‘home’ when singing with different choruses from the same choral family. My encounters with the SSC members were also very enriching as they would share insights into choral singing which always inspires me to strive for the better.

Singapore Symphony Children's Choir (SSCC)

Zoe Li, SSCC member since 2017

What do you like most about choral singing?

The experiences of working with renowned conductors and performing on the grand stage, as well as the friendships I've made along the way. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging! I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people around me.

What are some interesting things you learned from choral singing?

Choral singing is much more than just opening your mouth and singing, there are a lot of techniques involved. One interesting choral singing technique I learned is the existence of overtones.

Share your first choral performance experience.

My first choral performance was in 2017 at Victoria Concert Hall. I was very nervous but when the performance started, it all went away! I still get nervous even after performing for six years. However, once I step on stage, it is replaced with a sense of excitement and pride.


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