Category Archives: December

Confessions of a Chorister

By Khoo Wei Cyn

You may think that to join a choir group, you need to be able to sing well from the get-go. That’s got some truth to it, but only to a certain extent. What you really need in a group is the spirit of teamwork. We breathe together. We hit the high notes and low ones together. And we cover for each other when one of us runs out of breath. That’s what a choir is for; we sound good collectively when we can’t on our own.

Choral singing had been my lifeblood since 2010. The weekly practices with the Penang Philharmonic Chorus (PPC) are my panacea from life’s doldrums. Meeting friendly and familiar faces, taking part in the chatter and for two hours, breathing deeply then singing my heart out distracts my mind from trivial tribulations. Over the years, I’ve even learned to like the sound of my voice. I know the flaws in my voice and I appreciate the strengths that I have, experimenting with my breath and vocal articulations wherever I am least likely to embarrass myself.

I’d parted ways with the chorus after Martin Rutherford left. He had been our chorus master before he made penangpac his new “home”. However, the number of chorus members who remained at PPC weren’t enough to perform any major choral works in his absence, and when I heard news that he was appointed chorus master for The Actors Studio Chorus (TASC), I decided to join this new group, hoping to sing more grand pieces such as the Hallelujah Chorus and Zadok the Priest.

TASC was well into Week 6 of practice when I joined them. I had been swamped with Short+Sweet Theatre Festival before that, and between academic studies and my day job, I was stretched thin. Banking on my assumption that most of the carols were the ones I’d sung before at PPC, I hoped I could catch up with the choristers. Then I asked Martin if I could sing with them. The answer was yes.

Although there were many new and strange faces in the chorus, I warmed up to them very quickly. Now they are my new family, even though I hadn’t been looking for a new home. And I love the melody of all the carols! The Cowboy Carol, The First Nowell, Jubilate Domino and Sing Gloria are some of them. But the two songs titled The Holly and the Ivy and the Hallelujah Chorus are my all-time favourites as they feature uniquely polyphonic, contrapuntal music which sound amazing when performed flawlessly with an orchestral backing.

Martin is conducting with his usual emphasis on consonants and synchrony. It’s pronounced “lit-tel”, he keeps reminding us. Don’t sing during the two-beat rest unless you want your name to be in the programme as a soloist! he teases. But after 17 rehearsals, those words don’t faze us anymore. We’re ready to sing our hearts out. We’re ready to draw you into the beauty of choral music. And we’re dead serious about making good music for everybody!

A neophyte to theatre, Khoo Wei Cyn has just survived a thespian’s adventure at Short+Sweet Theatre Malaysia 2013 in Penang. She enjoys writing, reading and appreciating art in all forms. Her latest adventure will see her perform on stage in the The Actors Studio Chorus’s Family Christmas Concert 2013.

choir1
Tickets for Family Christmas Concert 2013 can be purchased at TicketPro or the penangpac Box Office. For reservations or more information, call penangpac at 04-8991722 / 2722. 

 

Family Christmas Concert 2013

Christmas comes to penangpac this season with a whole lot of singing peppered with some ho-ho-hos!

The Family Christmas Concert 2013 will feature The Actors Studio Chorus, which comprises of 70 singers, and Musica Sinfonietta, made up of 35 players. That’s a whopping 105 people coming together to serenade you this season!

Expect to hear Christmas classics such as ‘Hark The Herald Angels Sing’, ‘Silent Night’ and  ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, as well as Chorus and Orchestra carols such as ‘The Cowboy Carol’, ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and ‘Four Australian Christmas Carols’.

Martin Rutherford, the Chorus Master of The Actors Studio Chorus, will be conducting the Family Christmas Concert 2013.

Family Christmas Concert 2013

Date

23 & 24 December 2013 @ 8:15pm

Venue

stage 1, penangpac @ Straits Quay (3H-3A-1, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang)

Ticketing Information

RM 33 (Adults)

RM 23 (Physically-challenged, Senior Privilege Card Holders, Students & TAS Card Holder)

Tickets can be purchased at TicketPro or the penangpac Box Office. For reservations or more information, call penangpac at 04-8991722 / 2722.

Review: Marrying Me

Tying the Knot? … Not!

By Khoo Wei Cyn

Images courtesy of PenTAS

Everyone has their own notions on what a complete and well-lived life comprises. For most of the older generation, their notion is centred on marriage, which, in part, is the product of our survival instincts for ensuring the continuity of our genetic line. Produced by The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) and Performing Arts Centre of Penang (penangpac), Marrying Me: A New Musical, directed by Christopher Ling, addresses this concept through script, dance and song for four days; from 5-8 December at stage 2, penangpac and 12-22 December at pentas 2, klpac.

Be sure to get your ticket today!
Be sure to get your ticket today!

In the musical, Stephanie (the main character) rebels against tradition and stigma to live a life she wants; freedom from all the problems that come when the “going gets tough” in a marriage. Her idea of normalcy clashes with that of her mother’s (Sandra). For Sandra, the desire to live as a woman in a matriarchal role and having a happy marriage is the normal path where as Stephanie, the NGO fighter for women’s rights, has seen the reality of marriages gone sour. To Stephanie, that reality is normalcy, and she wants to protect herself from that situation by being independent and self-sufficient.

More and more details about Stephanie’s upbringing are revealed as the musical progresses into the second act. We learn that her mother was a victim of an abusive marriage, and Tony, the man whom Stephanie had loved dearly, reminded her of her own father. Determined to never repeat the mistake her mother made, she insists on a life of singlehood but this is thwarted by Sandra’s faked chronic illness, where she makes Stephanie promise to get married in her “dying wish”. Whether she goes on with her promise or not, that you would have to discover for yourself.

Marrying Me is certainly the musical to watch. Its upbeat, snazzy music peppered with doses of comedy and hilarity is brought to life by a spectacular lead actress and a solid cast. I loved the music and the way the lyrics were written, plus the scenes where comic relief was prevalent to break up the sombre mood reflective of Stephanie’s dilemma.

You don’t have to love singlehood to appreciate this musical; I’m sure you can draw some parallels with your experiences about marriage from it. And if you’re single, you may walk away feeling better about staying that way. But no matter who you are, I think that you will enjoy watching Marrying Me as much as I did. What’s not to love about good music, great fun and endearing characters?

*A neophyte to theatre, Khoo Wei Cyn has just survived a thespian’s adventure at Short+Sweet Theatre Malaysia 2013 in Penang. She enjoys writing, reading and appreciating art in all forms.

GTLF 2013: Poetry at Lunch

If you are a fan of spoken word, you probably would have heard about Say It Like You Mean It. Widely known as SILYMI, this little collective of Penang musicians, poets, storytellers and other performance artists has made quite the waves in the local art circuit from its very first outing in Jan 2012.

In this year’s edition of the George Town Literary Festival, SILYMI makes an appearance (more like two) with the festival’s Poetry at Lunch segment. These Boots are Made for Walking, which takes place on the second day of the festival is “a collection of introspective, observational and amusing solo, duet and group spoken word pieces, exploring the landscape of objectification, colonialism and the nation state using the body of a woman as the map is a collective of Penang musicians, poets, storytellers and other performance artists” (GTLF).

The second Poetry at Lunch session is Bad Poets. Described as “a showcase of storytelling, inherited tales of great kingdoms and poetic stories in search of history and identity” that challenges “accepted notions and pre-conceptions of literature, poetry, history and identity”, Bad Poets takes place on the third and last day of GTLF.

Open to the public and FREE, Poetry at Lunch is not about to dish out any run-of-the-mill performance, that is for sure. If thought-provoking art is right up your alley, Poetry at Lunch might just  be the thing you have been looking for. Don’t just take our word for it, come and experience it yourself.

Poetry at Lunch

Moderator: Ksatriya

Dates

These Boots are Made for Walking: 30 November 2013 @ 12pm

Featuring Elaine Foster, Melizarani T. Selva, and Sheena Baharuddin 

Bad Poets: 1 December 2013 @ 1pm

Featuring Ksatriya, Mark Walker, Shannon Frances, Lucille Dass, and Ibitoye Azeez

Venue

Sekeping Victoria, 164 Lebuh Victoria, George Town

A PenTAS exclusive: Marrying Me – The Musical

“Still no boyfriend ah?”

Every single woman who has had this question hurled at her would understand how annoying it can be to have nosy aunties and ‘well-meaning’ relatives trying to set her up with any Abu, Ah Beng or Appu.

And “Still no boyfriend ah?” is how the publicity team behind Christopher Ling’s upcoming production, Marrying Me, starts of its pre-pre press release, which came along with a personal note stating that PenTAS was the first media to receive the preliminary information on what seems to be like a syiok-tastic musical comedy. Brownie points for Marrying Me (which I hope would eventually translate into ticket sales).

Based on a book written by Mark Beau De Silva, this production by the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) in collaboration with the Penang Performing Arts Centre (penangpac) tells the story of one Stephanie – a proud single woman. But as her will to resist marriagehood starts to fray and a looming tragedy corners her, will Stephanie change her “I don’t” to the dreaded “I do”?

We will just have to wait for Dec 5 to find out what Stephanie does when Marrying Me opens at penangpac.

MARRYING ME 

Content Advisory: PG-13: Parental guidance advised (13 years old and above)

Music Onn San

Book Mark Beau De Silva

Lyrics EllaRose Chary

Director & Production Designer Christopher Ling

Musical Director & Arranger Stephen Tok

Choreographer Lex Lakshman Balakrishnan

Featuring Stephanie Van Driesen, Sandra Sodhy, Tony Leo Selvaraj, Fang Chyi with Joel Wong, Aaron Teoh, Aaron Ho, Abdul Muhaimin, Ho Lee Ching, Tan Yi Qing

Date

5 – 7 December @ 8.30pm

8 December @ 3pm

Venue

stage 2, penangpac @ Straits Quay (3H-3A-1, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang)

Ticketing Information

RM53 (Adults)

RM33 (Students, TAS Cardholders)

Ticket Promotions: Group Bookings: Buy 10 tickets, get 1 ticket FREE

Tickets can be purchased at TicketPro or the penangpac Box Office. For reservations or more information, call penangpac at 04-8991722 / 2722

Follow Marrying Me online on Twitter and Instagram with #marryingmemusical