Another Sunday, another day for a Pianovers Meetup at The URA Centre. As usual, Sng Yong Meng, Founder of ThePiano.SG, met up with the Pianovers at Maxwell Food Centre for a pre-meeting get-together and bonding session with some local grub. Yong Meng was joined by Adrian Huang, Qiao Yujun, Jeremy Chan, Ken Tay, Nicholas Sentosa , as well as a Turkish family comprising Mehmet and his son Efe. Food is always a good ice-breaker and it is always easier to know people over delicious local grub!
After the session at Maxwell Food Centre, the dinner group made its way back to The URA Centre where a group of excited Pianovers was already waiting. Pianovers Meetup is meant to connect people from all walks of life who love to play and listen to music. We get together, play, listen, enjoy and connect!
Occasionally, we even have passers-by who are intrigued by what we do and decide to join us. With regulars and newcomers gathered together, it is indeed a vision of the community Yong Meng intended for The Pianovers Meetup - to breed a close knit community of piano lovers from all backgrounds and sensibilities. After much anticipation, the evening’s programme got underway!
As the Mini-Recital started, the first to go up to the piano was Gwen. Gwen played two pieces: Beautiful Dreamer by Stephen Foster, as well as Song Without Words Op. 30 No. 6 ("Venetian Boat Song") by Felix Mendelssohn. "Song Without Words" s a series of short lyrical piano pieces and is made up of eight volumes. Each volume consists of six "songs". Mendelssohn is also known for writing the popular "Wedding March" often heard in weddings.
Gavin played Lyric Pieces, Book 1, Op. 12 by Edvard Grieg - a collection of 66 short pieces meant for solo piano. The collection includes several of his best known pieces, such as "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen". It was published in 10 volumes. Of these, Book 1 has eight pieces. Gavin played the following pieces: No. 1, Arietta, No. 2, Waltz, No. 3, Watchman's Song and No. 4, Elves' Dance.
Albert is known for performing Chinese classics and he did not disappoint this evening. He played two pieces, "心声泪痕" by 朴椿石 and "兰花草" by 陈贤德 and 张弼. The latter is based on the poem 希望 by 胡适. Taiwanese composers 陈贤德 and 张弼 added the melody later and the title was changed to 兰花草, and it gained popularity thereafter. In the poem 希望, 胡适 was given a pot of 兰花草, which he happily brought home. He took great care of it, however, no matter how he tried, it didn't blossom for a long time, and he was inspired to pen a poem to express his feelings.
Grace Pang played Rondo in C Major by Jacob Schmitt. Schmitt was a German composer and piano teacher who worked in Hamburg from 1825. Grace last performed in Meetup #73, and it was certainly great to see her back again and performing for us. We also got an update from Grace's mum about Sean (Grace's brother) that he is now in a new stage of his life. Sean joined us a few times and loves piano music, and we hope to see Sean at Pianovers Meetup soon!
Janice Liew played Memory by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was written for the famous 1981 musical "Cats" and was performed by the character Grizabella. The song signifies the memory of the character’s illustrious past and is the climax of the musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber is also the composer for another Broadway musical, "Phantom of the Opera".
Efe Yildirim, the visitor from Turkey, performed two pieces, Rondo Alla Turca (“Turkish March”) by Mozart and Izmir March. Both Efe and his dad, Mehmet, will be staying in Singapore for a week. He had searched on the Internet for piano events in Singapore as part of his trip planning and Pianovers Meetup appeared in the search results. He contacted us and asked us how to register for the event, and we were definitely very happy to have a piano lover from so far away joining us! They were early and joined us for dinner. We gladly took the opportunity to know them better. Being finally to be able to connect with them close up is truly amazing.
Jeremy Foo and Jonathan Lam played Waltz (from Sleeping Beauty Op. 66) by Tchaikovsky. Throughout his career, Tchaikovsky had composed 3 ballets: Swan Lake (1876), Sleeping Beauty (1889) and The Nutcracker (1892). Sleeping Beauty is a classic fairy tale based on a 1697 work by Charles Perrault, "Little Briar Rose" (German: Dornröschen ). It tells a story which involves a beautiful princess, a sleeping enchantment and a handsome prince. There are many versions of this story, but the narrative Perceforest is probably the earliest of all - composed in the early 14th century and first printed in 1528.
We love how Pianovers manage to find the right duet partners in the community, practice together and finally perform duet works for us! The platform provides opportunities for this to happen. Yong Meng added jokingly that this platform has been providing opportunities for finding the right partner (boyfriend / girlfriend) as well!
Alastair Soh played Allegro Assai: second movement from Sonata in G, Op. 1 No. 2 by Muzio Clementi. This composition is compiled in ABRSM 2017/18 G7. Do you know that in 1781, Clementi engaged in a piano competition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and additionally, he had a big influence on Ludwig van Beethoven?
Jaiden Soh was up at the piano next. He played Circus Theme by Fishel Pustilnik. This lively piece is compiled in Trinity College London piano grade 5 TCL 2018-2020. Fishel published 5 books of his compositions titled "Jazz & Pop Piano Paradise" and Volume 1 of "Jazz & Pop Sax Paradise", with the intention of teaching beginner and intermediate students of piano. Consequently, they have been used and tested on students. Because the compositions are easy to read, fun to play and sound professional when performed, the books have been a hit with music teachers and students in Canada, well-received in the market and have been regarded a great success.
Both Alastair and Jaiden are students of Piano Teacher, Fion, who was also here with us today. We were so glad to see a piano teacher bringing her students here for out-of-classroom exposure and giving them a chance to build their confidence in public playing!
Rowen Wong played Lyphard Melody by Paul de Senneville, and Olivier Toussaint. It was Rowen's debut performance today at the Meetup, and we were very happy to hear a very popular piece originally performed by Richard Clayderman in his 1977 album, which contains his signature piece - Ballade Pour Adeline. We hope to hear more ballad pieces from Rowen!
Adrian Huang played 原来你什么都不要 by 郭子, which was performed in September 1995 by A-Mei, a popular Taiwanese singer. Not only is she an established Taiwanese singer who has sold more than 50 million records, she has won the golden Melody Awards for Best Mandarin Female Singer for each of her albums, Truth (2001), Amit (2009) and Faces of Paranoia (2014). These awards also made her one of the singers who won this category the most number of times. And yes - it was nice to know from Adrian that he is a friend of Janelene Leong, who joined us since Meetup #4!
May Ling performed Circle of Life by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice, who said he was amazed at the speed at which John composed. In an interview, Rice remarked "I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he'd finished writing and recording a stunning demo".
May Ling also performed Can You Feel The Love Tonight. This song won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. It also earned Elton John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
You will remember these songs from Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King, which became the highest-grossing release in 1994, and the highest-grossing traditionally animated film of all time. Coincidentally, The Lion King Musical is now running in Singapore till 23 September 2018!
Chris Khoo played The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers, from the 1959 musical by the same name. Many songs from the musical have become standards, such as Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, Do-Re-Mi, and the title song The Sound of Music. In particular, The Sound of Music was the last item to have emerged from the musical collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein; Oscar Hammerstein died of cancer less than a year after the Broadway premiere.
Last but not least, Junn Lim played 告白气球 by 周杰倫 (Jay Chou). This piece was published in 2016 album 周杰伦的床边故事. Junn was one of the Pianovers who attended the early days of Pianovers Meetup - she first turned up at Meetup #5 and has been attending regularly, until she conceived. Last year's Pianovers Meetup #51 (Mooncake Themed) was a cosy one, held at her place, before she was due to deliver. We were all very surprised that she turned up today, and it was even more delightful that Junn had arrived together with her family! We had the chance to meet her husband, Jonathan, as well as her baby, Beatrice!
Following the end of the Mini-Recital, the group came together for a group picture. It is customary to take a group photograph for posterity, to allow all Pianovers who had attended retain memories of the nights well spent. Tonight was no different!
However, tonight's photograph had an additional person - dear Mr Tan. There are times at 5pm, when Yong Meng arrived at URA Centre and Mr Tan was already there. Upon seeing Yong Meng pick up the dead leaves in the premises, he took the initiative to assist. This evening, Yong Meng shared with everyone that Mr Tan is one of the silent heroes behind Pianovers Meetup. The fact that the venue is always clean when everyone arrives is also because of Mr Tan's numerous efforts! Thank you so much, Mr Tan, for helping us make Pianovers Meetup a much more enjoyable event!
Mr Tan has also been seen around, mostly before or after our Meetup. Today was the first time he actually sat in and even whistled accurately to the piece 心声泪痕 as Albert played. This displayed his utmost familiarity with the piece. It was also the first time when Mr Tan was with the group when the group picture was taken. Thus, befittingly, Yong Meng invited Mr Tan to take the group picture together. He had to actually invite shy Mr Tan a few times before he agreed!
As the night went on, Pianovers socialised and connected with one another and had lots of fun! Amid the fun and laughter, Yuqing, Rony and Rony’s daughter shared a light moment together. we caught sight of Janice and Mr Tan playing. Audrey, Mei Ling and Janice also took the opportunity to pose for a picture together. Pianovers Meetup is really a platform of great connections!