The All-American Boys Chorus’ recent performance in Singapore treated fans to a dose of good ‘ol American tunes.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ALL-AMERCIAN BOYS CHORUS|
The internationally-acclaimed All-American Boys Chorus delivered an evening of American music heritage on July 31 at the Suntec Convention Centre as part of the Asia and Australia leg of their “What A Wonderful World” tour.
The AABC is a 36-voice ensemble, comprising boys aged 9 to 14. It is a non-profit organization which seeks to help each member develop and exercise qualities of leadership within the context of choral music training, while striving to preserve American music heritage. The program, which takes in participants every year through an audition process, emphasizes both artistic excellence and practical life skills such as public speaking, good study habits and time management. The choir has performed in Russia, Romania, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Japan and Malaysia, and toured with entertainers like Josh Groban and Tony Bennett.
Dressed in their signature red jackets, the boys gave a hearty opening performance titled “Be Our Guest” from Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, under the leadership of music director Wesley Martin, complete with dance movements. Martin is an established Australian music director who has worked with the Australian Youth Choir and the Vienna Boys’ Choir, among others. Right from the get-go, the choir sang in perfect pitch and absolute clarity.
After the introduction numbers, he then led the choristers in a medley of American jazz music including “Route 66” (from Disney Pixar’s Cars) that got the audiences grooving to the beat. The boys then continued down the American heritage trail with a lineup of a capella songs. Taking a sharp detour, the choir took on a classical number, in tribute to the legendary composer Mozart.
Declaring that music has no boundaries, Martin then invited the audience to sing along for the next few songs, springing a surprise on them with a local number “Di Tanjong Katong” and a Chinese song made famous by the late crooner Teresa Teng, entitled “Yue Liang Dai Biao Wo De Xin” (“The Moon Represents My Heart”).
The first half of the evening ended with the boys singing a medley of songs from Broadway’s Westside Story with the audiences snapping their fingers to the music.
The choir returned 15 minutes later dressed in Hawaiian floral shirts, with Martin assuring the audience that the next number was a “serious” piece. To the delight of the audience, it turned out to be the up-tempo African song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” showcasing the boys’ vocal acrobatics to great effect. What made the performance shine even more was the fact that the boys seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the audience was enjoying the show.
One notable aspect of the evening’s performance was the wide variety of songs selected. With another change of attire into cowboy costumes, the choir kept the audience clapping their hands and tapping their feet to tunes from the wild, wild west including classics like “The Ghost Rider In The Sky” and “Home On The Range.” There was also a duet performance, singing “Come To The Garden” from the ‘90s musical The Secret Garden. Yet another duo donned jump suits and straw hats as they performed “The Princess and the Frog.”
The boys then returned onstage in their red jackets again, stirring up a sense of patriotism among the American citizens in the audience by paying tribute to American soldiers with a marching procession accompanied by familiar tunes such as “When the Saints Go Marching In.” For those who had been a part of their school bands, the songs brought back fond memories of their younger days.
The evening came to a climax when Martin encouraged the audience to sing along the next two songs from two of America’s greatest cultural icons, “Fools Rush In” by Elvis Presley and “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
As the curtains closed, the boys came down to the floor and mingled with the audience after their last song, sharing their touring experiences into the late hours of the night. The event was promoted by local production house, Theme Production, which also hosted chronically-ill children from Club Rainbow and Metta Welfare Association for the evening.