It was time for Pianovers to gather again! Every Sunday evening, a group of passionate piano lovers meets at The URA Centre for an evening of piano playing, music enjoyment and networking. These weekly meetings, known as Pianovers Meetups, are not just for experienced piano players but also for people who are new to the piano. We welcome people who are learning to play the piano and even people who simply want to listen to music!
Pianovers Meetups are a platform that allows ordinary pianists a chance to perform in public, in front of a “live” audience. They also allow adults who are already playing the piano to bring their children along, to expose them to public playing and boost their confidence. As an extension of this, piano teachers also find Meetups beneficial as they are able to give their students out-of-classroom training. Outdoor performances offer benefits that classroom learning does not provide, like performing in front of an audience and listening to experienced players play. Indeed, interacting with and learning from other players broadens their horizons and allows aspiring pianists to learn more effectively!
Pianovers Meetups start at 5pm with a dinner. This evening, we had several Pianovers join us! Together with Sng Yong Meng, Founder of ThePiano.SG, Debashis, Yong Qin, Gavin, Tanwei, Ricky and Wesley trooped to the nearby Maxwell Food Centre for a wonderful dinner. Food enjoyment is always a good excuse for bonding and this was what the group exactly did! Debashi and Yong Qin were attending for the first time this evening. In addition, Debashis would go on to perform that evening!
Interestingly, Ricky, who was having dinner with us, bumped into his old friend, Terence, who happened to be having dinner with his daughter in the food centre. He gamely invited the father-and-daughter team to our Meetup session! After filling their tummies, the group proceeded back to The URA Centre, where they joined the other Pianovers who were already waiting there.
At 7:00pm sharp, Yong Meng opened the evening and gave an introduction of ThePiano.SG and what it stands for. ThePiano.SG was founded with the aim of connecting piano lovers in Singapore. By building a closely-knit community of Pianovers, it aims to raise the level of professionalism in the piano industry. The company has organised several events that bring Pianovers together onto a common platform.
From the flagship Pianovers Meetup to Pianovers Sailaway, Pianovers Hours and Pianovers Recital, these events allow piano lovers to enjoy music together and network. The new ThePiano.SG Online Store stocks piano-themed collectibles and accessories that will appeal to piano lovers. Yong Meng also took the opportunity to announce a piece of good news. Pianovers Sailaway, a musical evening out in the southern seas on board a luxurious yacht, is coming back! Look out for our announcement!
After Yong Meng finished his introduction, we moved to the next segment of the evening, the Mini-Recital segment. This segment is the highlight of the evening, as it sees pianists going up to the piano and playing pre-registered pieces.
Debashis, our newcomer, started the ball rolling by playing Empire by Steve Mac and Ina Wroldsen. This song is a ballad about a couple finding love between them, one that is so powerful that they are able to unite the world. This song was performed in 2014 by Colombian singer and songwriter Shakira. Incidentally, the album she released was named after her. This album’s movie video is interesting and features the singer herself playing a runaway bride with the Montserrat Mountain, located near Barcelona, as the backdrop. As of today, the music video has reached 114 million views!
Gwen went up to the piano next. She played Rondo, a composition by the Austrian composer Joseph Hadyn. Hadyn was a friend and mentor of the well-known composer Mozart, as well as the teacher of Beethoven. He spent most of his career, amounting to a long 30 years, as a court musician, playing exclusively for Hungarian prince Esterházy and his family. Such was his separation from other composers and music trends that he was, in his own words, “forced to become original” in his music-writing.
Next at the piano was our youngest Pianover, I-Wen. I-Wen played two pieces this evening, Easy Waltz and Ten Little Indians. Ten Little Indians is an American children’s rhyme. It is said that the song likely originated as “Ten Little Injuns”, written by Septimus Winner in 1868. While the modern song as we know it counts from one to 10, the original song actually counted in the reverse order!
Following I-Wen’s performance, Albert, our veteran Pianover, played "独上西楼" by 刘家昌. This song was based on a sad poem by the same title, written by 李煜. It reproduced the entire poem’s words and is about a person who endures separation and makes his lonely way up a pagoda. This song was originally performed by the late Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng, who also performed another well-known piece 但願人長久 based on a poem. Following this Chinese song, Albert also performed "Arirang", a Korean folk song that is now used to promote peace and reunification on the divided Korean Peninsula.
Janice played Waltz of Chihiro (from Spirited Away) by Joe Hisaishi, as well as 明天会更好 by 罗大佑. "明天会更好" was composed in 1986 and modelled after the English song "We Are The World", which was used in a charity event in 1984. This event was a large-scale event that brought together the most famous artists in the music industry in a bid to raise money for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US. The Chinese song 明天会更好 gathered singers from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and other Asian countries. In all, 60 singers came together to sing for peace and hope for a better tomorrow.
While Janice’s performance was going on, Pianovers present noticed bubbles floating around The URA Centre’s premises. It turned out that Jenny had brought a bubble gun and was spraying bubbles out of sight of Pianovers! It was a surreal experience to have bubbles floating freely around the Pianovers just when a song about peace and hope was played. This thrilled not just children like Gwen and I-Wen but also adults. A really magical experience! Jenny would continue to spray the bubbles during the subsequent performances by Jia Hui, Gavin and Wesley.
Jia Hui played Nocturne in C# minor Op. Post by Chopin. This was the last of Chopin's nocturnes to be published. Yong Meng took the opportunity to explain the meaning of “Op.” and “Post”. To put it simply, Op, short for Opus, refers to the sequence of composers’ published works, much like how version numbers are used today. As for “Post”, this refers to Posthumously. This is used to denote compositions that are published after the composers have passed away.
Gavin played Fifth Nocturne by Ignace Leybach. Leybach was a pupil of Chopin’s when they were in Paris. Although Leybach was a famous pianist and composed more than 200 salon-pieces for piano during his lifetime, he is today known for a single piece that made a great impact. That piece is Fifth Nocturne, Op. 52, number 5, for solo piano. For the reader’s benefit, a salon piece is one that is performed at events known as “salons”. A salon piece is usually short. It is meant to display the superior playing skills of the pianist or emotional expressions of the characters.
Wesley went up to the piano next and played a piece famously performed by Richard Clayderman, Ballade Pour Adeline. This piece was written by Paul de Senneville and dedicated to his newborn, Adeline. When Senneville was looking for a performer for this composition, 21 hopefuls arrived for the audition. Eventually, Philippe Pagès’ soft touch on the keyboard, his reserved personality and his good looks, won him the coveted spot. Pagès uses the stage name Richard Clayderman. Till today, "Ballade Pour Adeline" remains Clayderman’s signature piece.
Chris Khoo was next on the list tonight. He played For All We Know by Fred Karlin. Although this piece was written for the 1970s comedy film, "Lovers and Other Strangers", it became very popular after the American duo Carpenters performed a cover version of this song in 1971. In fact, the duo did so well that they won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. The Carpenters duo actually comprised a brother-and-sister pair, Karen and Richard Carpenters. For all their success, Karen died of anorexia in 1983. She was only 33.
Justus performed his rendition of Sonatina in C, Op. 20, No. 1 by Kuhlau. Justus is a newcomer to Pianovers Meetups and he arrived with his mother and sister this evening. The composer, Kuhlau, was Danish and was based in the capital Copenhagen. He was a concert pianist and also wrote many operas. In addition, Kuhlau was credited with introducing Beethoven’s works in his country. Kuhlau was known to have created many works during his lifetime. Although many was his unpublished works were destroyed in a fire, he still left behind more than 200 published compositions.
Giselle went up to the piano next and played Cherry Blossom. This was her very own composition! At ThePiano.SG, we always encourage and support fellow Pianovers in their musical journeys. We occasionally hear original compositions from Pianovers and we are very happy for them. Well done, Giselle! We hope to hear more original compositions from you!
Brandon, a young Pianover, performed Whirlwind. We are happy that a young boy like Brandon has been immersed into the world of music at such a young age! Brandon’s dad had earlier bought some products from ThePiano.SG Online Store and opted to collect them tonight, since he was attending the Meetup. Now, our young Pianover has a new stationery set!
Pianovers were in for a treat tonight. Yong Meng had three boxes of pretty-looking piano-themed cupcakes delivered at 8:15pm. Pianovers were delighted that they had the chance to sample these interesting treats! The cupcakes had a Burgundy Velvet base and were covered with delicious Speculoos Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting. What grabbed people’s attention, though, was the Fondant Embellishment that topped the cupcakes and sported the well-known musical notes! Pianovers were so excited at these unexpected treats that they started taking photographs!
Aside from savouring the beautiful cupcakes, Pianovers interacted and networked among themselves. Of course, the night would not be complete with some serious jamming! Not surprisingly, some Pianovers could be seen jamming on the two pianos as others enjoyed their playing and exchanged ideas with them!
All too soon, it was time to say goodbye. After such an eventful evening, it was definitely difficult to part ways! However, Pianovers know that the next Meetup is just round the corner! Please note that Pianovers Meetup #68 will be a Special Meetup session. We will be unveiling two pianos at Tanjong Pagar Centre! Do come and join us this Sunday! The first 50 Pianovers who attend will each receive a $10 voucher from Tanjong Pagar Centre, so do come early! See you on Sunday at 5:00pm!