Date(s) - 1 Apr 2008
For the 38 BT BAF beneficiaries from Care Community Services Society and TOUCH Young Arrows Programme it was an opportunity to enjoy an outing to the Esplanade Concert Hall and their first exposure to a live classical performance. Many of the children were very excited as this was also the first time they had stepped into a concert hall.
As Janell Yeo stepped onstage, many of them remarked how young she was and were amazed by her talent. In fact, Janell Yeo is the recipient of the 2007 HSBC Youth Excellence Award and was enrolled in the Young Gifted Violinists Programme under Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ (NAFA) School of Young Talents from the tender age of five. In fact, Janell had only a bare knowledge of the piano and had never taken a single formal violin class before entering NAFA’s Young Gifted Violinists Programme.
For many of the beneficiaries present that evening, such an opportunity will only remain a dream as even if they did exhibit some talent like Janell, they would never have the financial ability to pursue lessons at NAFA.
Thankfully, there are people like HSBC who believe in supporting training in the arts for those of financially disadvantaged circumstances. The HSBC Youth Excellence Award, which is given out every year, presents $200,000 to each of the young artists selected, to provide them with the means to undertake developmental initiatives such as recitals around the world, masterclasses and participate in noteworthy international competitions.
HSBC’s head of group public affairs in Singapore Goh Kong Aik, 45, says: ‘Aside from loads of talent, we also look to select young Singaporeans who possess a real drive to excel at the highest standards as well as a real capacity to serve the country and community. Janell has impressed us on all these aspects.’
Perhaps one day, more children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds will be able to benefit from training in the arts. Says Siew Wah, a social worker who accompanied the children of TOUCH Community Service (Ubi Hostel), “The children really enjoyed the ensemble of music played, especially the violins. Our children love to sing, dance and engage in visual arts and some of them would like to be able to pursue these talents.“
After the concert, the children of TOUCH Community Service put together a simple thank you card for HSBC, to express their thanks and happiness at being able to attend this wonderful music concert.
With many happy smiles and farewells, their excitement and anticipation before the show ended with a wonderful night at the Esplanade, a first experience of classical music and a whole new world of art.
It is only through the support of altruistic individuals and organisations that more financially disadvantaged may be exposed to the joy of classical music.