DS and I went to the newly opened Singapore Sports Hub last Saturday (28 June) to attend Our People, Our Music 2014 (OPOM 2014 or 全民共乐 2014) concert.
This is the second time OPOM was held. The first was 10 years ago when SCO (Singapore Chinese Orchestra) celebrated Singapore’s 39th birthday but we did not attend then. This time, the total number of performers has increased significantly to more than double of that in the first one and it was attempting to achieve new Guinness World records.
Surely, I was excited to be at this newly opened sports complex, and be part of the first and mega concert held there as a show of our support for SCO, and of course, the rest of the performers too. In anticipation of the large crowds (30,000 spectators expected), we decided to be there earlier to avoid the jams and also to have some time to “admire” the new national stadium. When we arrived before 6pm, there were already many people there!
Partial view of the newly opened Singapore Sports Hub, from the overhead bridge connecting to it. Quite a long walk from Kallang MRT station though.
The Overhead Bridge leading to Sports Hub. Nice but not fully ready yet as some of the lifts are still not operational.
Large crowds were already queuing to get into the national stadium for the OPOM 2014 even before the gates were opened at 6pm. All 30,000 tickets for the concert were sold out. I noticed that majority of the attendees were middle-aged or senior citizens, quite many of them were from various RC (Resident Committee) around the islands who arrived in chartered buses.
The 55,000-capacity national stadium with retractable roofs and cooling bars below the seats is indeed very impressive! Another proud iconic landmark of Singapore!
You can even see Singapore Flyer and MBS (Marina Bay Sands) from the national stadium when the retractable roofs are opened!
I was really glad and found it meaningful to have attended OPOM 2014. Thanks to SCO for their great effort in organising and uniting such large number of (professional and amateur) Chinese orchestra performers together and presenting such a spectacular mega event. Beside members of SCO, many of the performers were students and even senior citizens from clan associations and community clubs. I understand the youngest performer that night was a drummer of only about two and a half years old, and the oldest, an 82-year old. There was a visually-handicapped Erhu player. Over 200 students from Foon Yew High School (宽柔中学) across the causeway in JB were among the performers too. There was also a group of Japanese housewives (of expats working in Singapore) playing the Erhu.
It took 45 minutes or more for all the performers to march in to take their seats!
Erhu had the largest number of performers among all the instruments
Comperes for the night – Qiqi (琪琪) from Good Morning Singapore (早安你好) TV programme and Jimmy T
Guests of honour – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong
Part 1 – Introduction & Prime Minister Lee initiating the concert : Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 30
Part 2 – Our Home – Nostalgic (我的家园－回顾) : Blue Memories – A Medley of golden hits of late Teresa Teng (蓝色的思念－邓丽君金曲连奏)
I really enjoyed this segment of the concert very much. It was indeed very nostalgic and brought back wonderful memories of the good old days of Singapore and also my school days when Teresa Teng was one of my favourite singers.
Part 3 – Our Home – Dream (我的家园－梦想) : A Man Should Stand Strong 男儿当自强 featuring Martial Arts by Vincent Ng, Singapore’s only World Wushu Champion for 16 years
Part 4 : (i) Our Home – Drive (我的家园－前进) : Horse Racing & (ii) Our Home – Future (我的家园－未来) ：Spring of Tianshan (天山之春)
Spring of Tianshan featured Chen Xin Yu (陈欣宇)，a 10-year old and very talented Pipa soloist who was the first prize winner of the 2012 Singapore National Chinese Music Competition (Pipa Junior Category). Her performance is really impressive!
Part 5 : Our Home – Energy (我的家园－动力) : Power Singapura (动力狮城)！
The Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble, a new Guinness World Record was achieved in this segment of OPOM 2014. This drum ensemble was led by Quek Ling Kiong, Resident Conductor of SCO. And, do you remember our Kallang Wave? It was back again in this segment!
Part 6 : Our Home – PossibiCity (我的家园－远景) : Variations on Singapura (新加坡变奏曲)
Part 7 : The proud moments – the announcement of two new Guinness World Records – Largest Chinese Orchestra and Largest Chinese Drum Ensemble – by Jack Brockbank, Official Adjudicator for Our People, Our Music 2014
Part 8 : The Finale – beautiful rendition of “Home” by Dick Lee, the multi-talented local singer cum composer. Home is the 1998 NDP (National Day Parade) song composed by Dick Lee, and sung by Kit Chan
I was touched that night, not so much about them making the Guinness records, but their team spirit and great effort in not only making such a mega Chinese orchestra performance possible but also a great success. The event and the success of it wouldn’t have been possible without the entire team’s hard work, strong determination and perseverance. I can imagine the massive plannings, preparations and logistics involved in bringing all these performers together, the enormous amount of time and effort they had to spend on individual group practices and mass rehearsals. It was no simple task at all. Likewise, the great contributions from all involved behind the scenes, including the volunteers cannot go without unnoticed too.
Thank you SCO for the wonderful and memorable night!