Ramblings of a (new mummy) singer

This blog post (baby) took 9 months in the making…ok maybe a couple of weeks, the blog post, I mean.

The pieces that we pick up in the choir (The screams of a hungry and impatient baby).
Music to the ears of the beholder.

Having a newborn and singing in a choir sorta parallels Life =)

Dragging a tired body and mind to the SONG and MUSIC at choir rehearsals (twice weekly, over 12 years now. Wow. 12 already?), at the end of a challenging school / work/ day…

Can I still sing while preggy? What will the bodily (hormonal!!) changes do to my voice?
Trepidations aplenty. I remember…

feeling breathless singing within ONE bar

*breathe breathe. skip a couple of notes. Smile =) Sing. breathe breathe*

wondering if I’ll still fit into my choir uniform
looking like a hippo in a borrowed larger uniform
singing with the choir on stage at 7 months in *achievement unlocked!*


Soothing a seemingly inconsolable crying newborn (EVERY DAY) with SONG and MUSIC… Soothes so many raw nerves.

I recently re-discovered a stash of SYC concert recordings and dug out 2 of my favourites – Poverello (2004) & Dobrogosz Plays Dobrogosz (2011). Okay. I also put these 2 recordings on play and repeat and repeat mode because I was desperate to calm the newborn. Whatever works!

Some take lonely roads that never meet…
Some take long roads, some take hard roads…

Listening…humming along…singing along aloud (I remember the words to my parts and OTHER people’s parts!) soothes and even baby falls asleep more quickly and soundly. Hurray!! *Huge sigh of relief*

Lord I’m free… (when baby’s sleeping)…
Lord I’m free… (
when she’s fast asleep)…

The power of music. The magic of choral singing. Waiting for that opportunity to go back to singing with the group again.

Any way the wind blows…

Can’t wait for the day too when this little one embarks and explores her own musical journey

And they all come back to Thee.



5(+1) Reasons Why SYCES is My Home. Truly.

Time sure flies by in a blink of an eye: It has been 7 years since I first joined SYCES. Still remember very clearly my date of entry: April Fool’s Day, 2007. “What has kept me so long within the choir?” – A question very often asked by people close to me. Well, let me reiterate the reasons again, but with a slightly different twist. I dedicate this Buzzworthy-esque blogpost to my fellow SYCES friends and also to all those in the choral fraternity. I am sure at least 1 of them will resonate with you guys. (:

1. I get to SING lots of awesome songs.


Fire songs? Count me in!

2. It brings me PLACES. Like, both locally and overseas.


Solfege in Arezzo, Italy


S Y C on the cobbled stone streets of Torino, Italy

3. I get to MEET and SING together with people from other countries.


It’s a Gaia, ACS & SYCES parteh! *\o/*

4. We are serious about our FOOD. Like, seriously.


Our usual after-concert pig-out at Lau Pa Sat. SATAY!! *drools*


How about a change of environment at Glutton’s Bay? STILL GOOD!

5. We love our WE-FIES! (or at least there are people willing to humour me)


Those were the days when selfie pods were unheard of, and actual selfies took a certain level of skill. xD

Bonus Point:

Did I mention that off-stage, we are just a crazy and fun-loving bunch of people at heart?


– songern –

A message from Jonathan Velasco

Thank you, Sir JoJo, for this lovely message. It has been an honour and a treat to have you here with us, and we can’t wait to see you again!

Dear SYCES and Jennifer,

It has been 24 hours since our concert last night. I didn’t even have time for sepanx (separation anxiety) because everything was a whirlwind after the concert ended. By the time I was able to catch my breath, I already found myself here in my next hotel in Manila. It feels so weird to be booked in a hotel in your home city hahaha!

And so it is only now that I am able to express my thanks to you all, for the wonderful music making that we all did. I leave you for now, with a smile on my face, full of artistic satisfaction in the instrument that is the SYCES. I hope you are happy with what we did, as I am.

Ate Jen, thank you for inviting me to conduct your baby. You have honed it into a fantastic group of like-minded individuals with a passion for excellence. Thank you for your hospitality and kindness. In you and Albert, shine the best example of true Singaporean hospitality. I am so glad to be counted among your friends.

And so, onward towards the Christmas season! Remember our songs, and its messages of hope, of meaning, of celebration. Luwalhati sa Diyos sa kaitaasan, at sa lupa’y kapayapaan sa mga taong kinalulugdan Nya!

PAGDIRIWANG – A choral atelier with Jonathan Velasco


Young Musicians’ Society presents
a choral atelier with Jonathan Velasco (Philippines)

Bringing together singers of different ages, professions and musical backgrounds, the atelier platform seeks to provide the singing public with the opportunity to explore choral music from around the world with our guest conductors.

This December, join Filipino choral conductor, Jonathan Velasco, in a celebration of the holiday season in our second atelier to date. Together with fellow choral enthusiasts, explore seasonal and Advent music in the week-long atelier (5 – 11 Dec), which culminates in a concert performance at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

Singers must be able to read music and have at least 3 years’ experience singing in a choir.  As the atelier can only accommodate a maximum of 48 singers in a balanced number of voice parts, you may be asked to audition.

Application closes 31 October 2013.

Download the brochure and application form here, or email us at atelier@yms.org.sg for more information.

Atelier Sessions

Thu         5 Dec 2013       2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Fri           6 Dec 2013       9:30 am – 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sat          7 Dec 2013       9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Sun         8 Dec 2013       Evening dress rehearsal (Esplanade Concert Hall)
Mon        9 Dec 2013       2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Wed       11 Dec 2013      Atelier performance

Fee: $120 (inclusive of scores)

Atelier Performance (as a concert segment)
PAGDIRIWANG A celebration of the holiday season
With Jonathan Velasco, Jennifer Tham and the SYC Ensemble Singers

Date: 11 December 2013
Venue: Esplanade Concert Hall

Happy days are over… NOT!!

With 25th December behind our backs at the strike of 12 midnight, gone is the day of us wishing each other “Feliz Navidad” (Merry Christmas in Spanish) and singing joyful christmas carols with our friends and families. As we usher in Boxing day and open our presents from our “Secret Santas”, one would think that there is probably nothing much more to look forward to, other than the upcoming new year just round the corner as 2012 comes to an end. However, I am extremely excited and looking forward to January next year!! This is because SYCES will be going to… Wait for it… Hokkaido, Japan!! 😀

With the THREE instalment having come full circle after 6 long years, we are once again embarking on another trip to Japan, where we will have another combined performance!! 🙂 I honestly cannot suppress the excitement and joy of meeting up with the people from Ateneo Chamber Singers and Gaia Philharmonic Choir. I am looking forward to the opportunity to sing together with them again and I am sure that it is going to be a night filled with wonderful music and choral camaraderie.

Of course, how can I forget the ever energetic Ko Matsushita and happy-go-lucky Jonathan Velasco?? I am sooo looking forward to being able to be conducted by them in our 3-choir combined pieces!! Of course, we will also have our lovely Ms Jennifer Tham conducting a combined piece composed by our very own local talent, Americ Goh! Wah… just typing down all these things is already making me uber excited!!

With just 2 more practices to go before we fly over to Hokkaido, I am all geared up to put on a wonderful concert together with ACS and Gaia from 4-7th Jan 2013! Looks like SYCES is going to have a belated white christmas after all!! Snow angels, anyone? 😛

– Song Ern

TWO Decades in the SYC

2012 marks my 20th years singing with the SYC ES.
If my memory is correct, my 1st rehearsal was 7 Mar 1992.

In this (long) 20 years, I have sung in almost every performances (except for the time when I was posted to Brazil for 3.5 months) and joined in every Choir tour.

Many people have asked “why you are still singing with the Choir??”
It’s a question that till this date, I still do not have an answer or there are too many answers…
The journey of making good music is not always fun. There’s also the agony, frustration and confusion along the way.
So what keeps me going?
the love of singing?
the sense of pride, accomplishment and achievement when the audiences show appreciation?
the opportunities to work and sing with various Conductors, Composers and Musicians both locally and overseas?
the joy of sending “hope, joy and love” with our voices?
the eye-opening, great culture experiences, sharing and exchanges on each tour?
the choir-mates whom I have developed great friendship with?
Or maybe it was just FATED?

No matter what the answer is, I am still here in this Choir and perhaps THE ONE that I would end my Choir life.

I have learned and gained a lot for the uncountable thousands of hours I have spent in the past 20 years.

I cherish and is grateful to all around me whom have been helping and giving me reasons to stay on with this Choir till this date.

Like most people, I may not remember every single rehearsals, performances, tours and people whom I have met.
But I will never forget that I was part of this remarkable Choir and perhaps in some small little ways, I have contributed (I hope!) in making some history with it.

~ Peiling ~


How many SYC uniforms do you own?

My 1st SYC Uniform

The Girls’ no. 1 uniform that was inspired by the “sarung kebaya” was introduced in 1996

The no. 2 uniform from 1996 to 2003

The no. 2 uniform since 2004

The “Matrix” uniform that everyone loves

Thank You

A note from Corrado Margutti that warmed the cockles of our hearts.
Thank YOU, Corrado, for your music and friendship.

Dear friends of the SYC Ensemble Singers,

I like to write you these few lines only to tell you grazie, thank you. Now it’s 2am and I’m going to go to sleep and when you listen to these words (I know that you are going to do a rehearsal at 2pm) probably I’ll wake up because in Italy it will be the Aurora, 7am! It was a wonderful week spent in doing music with you. I’d like to be there with you now. I feel like telling you that the time spent with you in conducting Italian music of mine and not only was for me a so delicious time. A nice, good, expressive, intense and amusing choir has been the soundtrack of my week in Singapore. I’ve known you and your wonderful conductor (who has prepared a very nice atelier choir too!). And I have found the perfect organization by your president Albert and a great welcome by you and all the executive committee.

To conduct you is an honour, I’m thinking about you now while you are doing the rehearsal, and when I was conducting you I was thinking that if a composer listen to you, he would like to write music for you… So I can’t wait for your coming in Torino. Have a nice rehearsal and be sure that in Italy there is someone thinking of you.