The Millennial Orchestra’s upcoming Christmas concert promises Christmas favorites like you have never heard them before.
Contributed By Theodora Ho
The Millennial Orchestra prides itself on being one of the classical orchestral groups that believes in bringing music and talents closer to the masses.
Founded in 2006, it started out as a humble three-member ensemble, consisting of Lee Tat Haur, Leo Chee Keong and Vanessa Caneda. They decided to fuel their passion for classical music by encouraging other like-minded enthusiasts to join them in creating an orchestra that would be unique in the classical world. A mere five years later, the group has now grown into a 40-member group, and its youngest musician is only 13 years old.
TMO’s upcoming Christmas concert on Dec 18 is entitled “A Musical Merry Christmas.” It is part of the orchestra’s mini-concert series that made its debut in December 2010. In a bid to draw closer to the audience, throughout the past year, TMO has been holding a series of hour-long dinner-time concerts that are performed in an intimate setting that can afford an audience of up to 100. In this way, each section of the orchestra—strings, brasses and winds, get a more immediate connection and interaction with the audience.
For the upcoming concert, half of the performance will feature only symphonic band instruments while the other half will feature the full orchestra. The pieces TMO will be performing include “Nutcracker Suite” by Peter llyich Tchaikovsky and “Pomp and Circumstance No.1” by Sir Edward Elgar. Those pieces were originally written for professional orchestras with massive instrumentations and sublime skills. TMO faces the challenge of bringing the difficult individual parts together as a whole for a powerful sound overall. They hope to immerse the audience entirely in the music.
Another highlight of the evening is “Christmas—A Medley of Well Known Carols” arranged by Arthur Harris. It is an arrangement of seven traditional carols: “Good King Wenceslas,” “Silent Night,” “Joy To The World,” “First Noel, Deck The Halls,” “What Child Is This?” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” This medley was originally performed and recorded by the widely acclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra. “While the Christmas medley was a challenging piece to rehearse and perform by the orchestra, I regard it as one of the most clever arrangements of Christmas carols for a massive symphony orchestra; it makes popular carols so fresh and unconventional, even thought it was arranged in 1973,” Lee remarks.
TMO always has the audience’s heart in mind. The pieces are chosen to accommodate the taste, preferences and musical knowledge of the audience. Although TMO started rehearsing for this concert in July this year, the challenging repertoire has required them to put in more time and effort at group rehearsal as well as in their individual practice—not an easy task since most TMO members are working adults and students, not full-time musicians.
TMO aims to inspire and encourage musicians to reach out to the community, through their musical gifts, to bring classical music appreciation to all walks of life. “In this particular concert, we hope to serve as a platform to bring the message of Christmas to both the public, as well as family and friends, by displaying God’s manifold creativity in this genre of the performing arts,” explains Lee.
The Millennial Orchestra’s “A Musical Merry Christmas” will be held on Dec. 18 from 8 to 9 p.m., at Suntec Singapore’s Level 2 Theatre. Admission is free. For tickets, call Cindy at 98151612 or email email@example.com.