As millions of Christians over the world gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ over gift giving, caroling and feasting, the City Harvest Dialect Church had a Christmas celebration of a different kind. They held a singing competition for the elderly to showcase their individual gifts and talents.
The festive air swept through the Jurong West Main Auditorium on 21 December, as the oldest members in City Harvest gathered together for the finals of 才艺大比拼 (Cai Yi Da Bi Ping or “Talent Showcase”), after a month of intensive auditions and training sessions for the participants.
“Most of the elderly love singing, but have no opportunity to showcase their talents, and we thought that it would be good to use the Christmas season for them to do just that,” said Lee Meijuan, the zone secretary of the Dialect Church.
Some of the elderly had always dreamed of singing on a stage and when the time came, they eagerly put their best foot forward in the competition. The moments they had on stage, though a short while, were very much cherished for the participants who have worked extremely hard for the final showdown.
More than just giving the elderly an opportunity to fulfill their dreams, the talent competition also put forth the message that age is not a barrier to being creative, enjoying life and achieving one’s goals and purpose. Old age does not mean the end of goals and challenges.
“They may be old, but they are definitely not useless. We want them to know that all of us have gifts and talents. It is just a matter of finding out what they are,” said Lee.
She added: “Through this event, I could really see God working in the lives of the elderly, and the sense of accomplishment they felt through this competition.”
Since the auditions held in November, the shortlisted participants had to attend training sessions, choose appropriate songs, and even plan their outfit for the competition, where they could win trophies and NTUC vouchers.
Averaging at about 600 in the regular congregation, this event was a breakthrough for the Dialect Church, which saw some 1,015 attendees that day, where close to half were first time visitors.
“The whole event was a great success,” shared Lee.
2009 looks set to be an even greater year for the Dialect Church, as they prepare to usher in the Chinese New Year with a musical in February!