DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? - 2004
Do You Hear The People Sing? was inspired and drawn from a collection of the more elemental and spiritual songs from the earlier musicals such as Carousel, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; to the more recent arrivals such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Rose of Sharon, etc. as well as some other well loved numbers. The musical numbers were in the form of solos, mixed vocal arrangements, choral numbers and medleys and seek to reassure, cheer, reflect, impart endurance, comfort, encourage, conquer, strengthen, inspire, defend, convict, bring hope, challenge, redeem, pacify, honour, celebrate, express love and bring restoration.
The musical was staged at Panggung Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur from Wednesday 4th August to Sunday 8th August 2004 with a total production run of 8 performances including the preview evening. The production involved a cast and production crew of 105 and was our first staging of musical production in a public performance venue and also the first within the city of Kuala Lumpur.
Guest artises in the production included Agnes Yeow, Yudi and Tan Wei Han. The production benefitted Rumah Destiny, a home for underpriviledged children as well as Praise Caring Home, which provides interim accommodation for cancer patients seeking medical treatment in the Klang Valley area.
Do You Hear The People Sing? earned TCS a nomination for Best Group Performance - Voice under the 2004 Boh Cameronian Awards.
I sit there on my island. Discontent. Alone. I am all alone waiting for something; waiting for an absolution. At first my isolation and uncertainty would cause me to be overwhelmed with desperation. There is nothing left for me to live for here, just suffering and more suffering.
"Do You Hear the People Sing" captures the themes and images of the glory and pain of love, the hardships of poverty, the injustices of social and political structures, the honour of self-sacrifice, the redemption of death, and the reassurance of hope. The song in a sense is an ambassador of hope and salvation and begins with a rhythmic percussive beat that emulates the beating of one’s heart; the chiming of a bell is then added. The beat is almost military, similar to the beat described by Simon Frith in an essay "…its steadiness and uniformity are emphasized, its power and vigor become ominous". Enjolras’s monotone and foreboding voice then rings in, chanting the song’s classic line:
"Do you hear the people sing, singing a song of angry men, it is the music of a people who will not be slaves again, when the beating of your hearts echoes the beating of the drums there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes."
The mood of dissatisfaction with life and the resulting misery has now been set. And then the chorus and the lightning bolt of voices overwhelm the listener as the entire orchestra accompanies it, surging forth with a fulminating crash. The people’s rage resonates along with the warlike sound of the music. It is loud; it is powerful. The reverberations penetrate our ears; we feel the people’s suffering. As the music flows through his ears, the listener is a part of the music.
"It is the music of a people who are climbing towards the light" (Finale). Yes, it is true that suffering is more predominant, as it is in life and as it would be on my desert island, but if one examines the music closely one will catch a slight glimpse of hope. Recognition of this hope involves a struggle, for the common listener would see a wasteland of suffering. Only the complex listener, will find that hope and it is he who will ultimately benefit from it. I know that after much reflection, the music would allow me to ignore the suffering and while being "nurtured in isolation", "discover a realm of surprisingly serene and happy freedom" on my desert island.
The "Finale" of “Do You Hear the People Sing” provides a miniscule example of this ray of light. It begins with a void of sound that is only filled with the people’s voices. What those voices say though is quite different from the suffering exemplified earlier. It is not "Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men…" etc. No. Instead we hear quite a different outlook on life. The company softly and delicately sings,
"Do you hear the people sing, lost in the valley of the night, it is the music of a people who are climbing to the light."
Not only have they recognized their suffering, but they have also endured the struggle to recognize hope. And then, not until after we hear that culminating verse, that epiphany, do the drums begin to beat. Slow at first, then more instruments are added, and the voices of the people become increasingly louder until the orchestra and the cries of the people envelope in a triumphant melody:
"… It is the future that we bring when tomorrow comes!" "When tomorrow comes"
Yes there is hope! Every time I listen to it, a fire ignites in my soul. People everywhere are drawn as a result of the representation of suffering and which gives birth to hope. The music comforts the listener, he knows he is not alone. Each person relates to something and brings away with themselves.
Extracted from an article by Adrienne B. Henck
A WORD OF WELCOME FROM MUSIC THEATRE
Music Theatre (“MT”) is delighted to be collaborating with The Canticle Singers (“TCS”) for this musical production of “Do You Hear The People Sing”.
Since its inception TCS has established a name for itself in the area of sacred music in the form of musicals and oratorios, as well as some secular numbers. With this production TCS has further broadened its repertoire to feature a collection of some of the more contemplative, thought provoking as well as fun numbers from the musicals such as “Les Miserables”, “West Side Story”, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat”, “Carousel”, to name a few.
MT has since its incorporation in the late 90s strived to promote medium sized musical theatre productions and we are honoured that TCS is collaborating with us on this production. MT in this production has been involved in the organizational logistics while my fellow directors, Mr Liau Siau Suan and Mr Wong Wing Thim will be involved in their individual capacities in this production. Siau Suan continues to sing while Wing Thim works behind the scenes with sound and lighting.
MT is pleased that the net proceeds from the production will be donated to Rumah Destiny, a home set up under the ministry of the Metro Tabernacle, for the caring of the needy and underpriviledged children in our society. We commend the pioneers of this Home project who shared this vision of providing a safe, secure and loving environment for these less fortunate children.
Rumah Destiny is managed by a Home Parent who is supported by three Home Assistants and volunteers who offer services such as teaching, gardening, repairs, transportation, handiwork, music and outdoor activities. The Home is located in Taman Melawati and requires on a regular basis, fresh and dry food produce as well as other consumables in addition to meeting their monthly financial commitments to operate the home efficiently.
We would especially like to take this opportunity to congratulate H K Chong, the Producer and Music Director of this show who has taken much time and effort in putting together this production. I have no doubt that with his evident professionalism and commitment, the show will be thoroughly enjoyable.
In closing, may I wish you all a most pleasant and enjoyable evening.
THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
This is the third major production that I have been directly involved with The Canticle Singers. When the musical director, H K Chong, broached the idea of “Do You Hear The People Sing?”, I was infected by his enthusiasm and agreed without hesitation. My task was made easier as he was the driving force laying the foundation, auditioning the singers and doing the lion’s share of the work and, finally, has to sweat it out in the orchestra pit.
But what ensued from the initial seeds sown for the production grew wondrously. Many people came forth to audition for the production. H K and I would like to thank the many people who auditioned for the production. Owing to the logistics of the production, we have not been able to offer everyone a role. Also, the band of backstage people grew. They are the silent presences giving no less essential and vital support and touch to the production.
What you see is hard work invested since February of this year. The performers stretching their unaccustomed limbs to exercises on the floor, putting the frogs to shame and a camaraderie of shared enthusiasm and concern on stage and off stage have resulted in this performance.
By design, or otherwise, that a large group of people from a myriad background should get together to do a challenging production of this scale is short of a miracle. Even more so, when we have many people offering their services and generous support in cash and in kind to realize this production, which is done for a good cause.
They have heard the people sing, they sing and you hear them sing.
We all sing!
Chin San Sooi
THE PRODUCER & MUSIC DIRECTOR
“Another production featuring music from the musicals?”, someone gasped in the background. “Every other choral group seems to be doing selections from the shows or musicals, doesn’t the public just get tired of this?”, he adds. Cringing, I manage to elicit a response, “Well, we hope to be able to present selections which have a deeper content to them rather than just ‘Do Re Mi’.” There were also a few pundits from within us who strongly felt that it was totally inappropriate for The Canticle Singers to be performing any form of secular music.
The moral of the story is that you cannot please everybody all of the time. Guided by a more purposeful and higher objective, you can just do your best. Suffice to say that those pundits have had to take a different route. With that out of the way, San Sooi and I sat down to contemplate and soon decided that the songs selected should be more elemental and spiritual in nature and that they should seek to
strengthen, inspire, defend, convict, bring hope, challenge, redeem,
pacify, honour, celebrate, express love, help restore,
Then it came around to choosing a title for the production and after bantering a bit we arrived at "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from “Les Miserables”, as it captured the spirit of what we wanted the musical to portray and thus would justly serve as the title and anthem of our the production. The Canticle Singers held its auditions for this production in early January and attracted a great amount of interest. Selections were made not only on the basis of the candidates’ voices but also took into account their other existing commitments, relational dynamics as well as personal references.
Given the demands and scale of this production, it was only fitting that we entered into a collaboration with Music Theatre which brought along its production and management expertise and at the same time held our hand all along the way - our thanks go to Wing Thim, Siau Suan and Philip Chai; for their encouragement and support.
San Sooi is helping us produce this show as well as serving as Artistic Director, this being his fourth production with us. Pearlly Chua has been spending more time with our guys and girls in loosening them up with various fitness and movement sessions in addition to managing a range of production responsibilities. Notwithstanding the aches and pains and tears, The Company has thoroughly enjoyed working with both of them. We are also priviledged to have Isaac Chia working in conjunction with professional violinists Mayya Musaeva and Prody G. Bartholome and who have helped to assemble and lead an accomplished music ensemble.
We are happy that Rumah Destiny has kindly consented to be the beneficiary of the net proceeds of this musical production and we would encourage you to continue giving generously towards this labour of love in caring for children who have been abandoned or underpriviledged. This special home is the result of the social ministry of Metro Tabernacle, Kuala Lumpur. We have personally visited Rumah Destiny and have been impressed with their high standards of care and operation.
This production of "Do You Hear The People Sing?" has garnered and harnessed the labour and efforts of a great many people: not just the performers and guest artists seen on stage but many more who are invisible…the technical crew, backstage crew, wardrobe people, ushers, marketing and other support functions and management – they are all Malaysians; from diverse walks of life, differing in colour and creed, from near and far. They have all volunteered their God-given talents and resources; sacrificed much time and energy and through music and song, desire to make this musical a rich and wonderful experience – epitomizing the spirit of Malaysia Boleh!
God bless you as you share this evening with us.
H K Chong
||O Sifuni Mungu
||Michelle Ho, Praveen Abraham & Chorus
||Try to Remember
||Liau Siau Suan & Chorus
||You'll Never Walk Alone
||Shirani Amarasingham & Chorus
||Oh Happy Day Medley
||Elvira Arul, Chang Yow Keong,
|Praveen Abraham & Chorus
||Fiddler on the Roof Selections
|5a Prologue (abridged)
||Prody G Bartholome (The Fiddler)
|5b Sunrise, Sunset
||Shirani Amarasingham (Golde)|
|Gregory Ling/Kuan Chee Choun+ (Tevye)
|Low Tze Liang (Perchik)
|Teoh Lee Mei/Ivy Chan *** (Hodel)
|Yudi** & Liau Siau Suan (Tzeitel & Motel)
|Chorus (Villagers of Anatevka)
||Climb Every Mountain
||West Side Story Selections
||Michelle Ho (Maria) & Philip Poh (Tony)
|7b Tonight (Ensemble)
||Brian Cheong (Riff),
|Gregory Ling/Kuan Chee Choon+ (Benardo)|
|Michelle Ho (Maria),
|Philip Poh (Tony),|
|Elvira Arul (Anita)
|Praveen Abraham, Luke Chong,|
|Geoffrey Woo, Mason Wong
|and Low Tze Liang (The Jets)
|Chang Yow Keong, Kok Soo Aun, Joshua Yap,|
||Timothy Ooi and Greg Ling (The Sharks)
|7d One Hand One Heart
||Michelle Ho (Maria) * Philip Poh (Tony)
||The Impossible Dream @||Tan Wei Han & Chorus
|9||Ole Man River
||Chang Yow Keong & Men's Chorus
||Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour
||Low Tze Liang (Storyteller)
|Dreamcoat Medely||Brian Cheong (Joseph)
|Philip Poh (one of Joseph's brothers)
|Kok Soo Aun (another brother of Joseph)
|Geoffrey Woo (Jacob)
|Luke Chong (Pharaoh)
|Timothy Ooi (another brother of Joseph)
|Shirani Amarasingham (a relative)
|Chorus (Joseph's other brothers, their wives and
|ladies of the court of Pharaoh)
||I'm a Nothing Stranger
||Yudi** & Liau Siau Suan
||Phantom of the Opera Medley
||Elvira Arul, Praveen Abraham,
Amanda Tham, Kok Soo Aun,
|Shirani Amarasingham, Teoh Lee Mei,
|Chang Yow Keong
|Chorus (spirits still urking the Paris Opera House)
||My Heart Belongs to You
||Timothy Ooi & Tan Wei Han
||Empty Chairs At Empty Tables
||Les Miserables Medley
||Chorus (the workers and people of Paris)
|Cheah Jan Mie (Fantine)
|Amanda Tham (young Cossette)
|Kok Soo Aun (Enjolras)
|Low Tze Liang (Combeferre)
|Brian Cheong (Courfeyrac)
|Teoh Lee Mei (Eponine)
|Timothy Ooi (Valjean)
|Geoffrey Woo (Marius)
||Agnes Yeow on Sat 7 Aug 2004||@ In memory of Kit Quay Ong Chee|
||Ivy Chan (alernate)
||28 May 1941 - 24 July 2004; who|
||Kuan Chee Choon (alternate)
||pioneered and led the TCS Sound|
|& Technical Team from 1992 to 1997|
May Ang Seok Leng
Elvira Carrie Olga Arul
Ivy Chan Mun Ying
Chang Yow Keong
Cheah Jan Mie
Brian Cheong Chee Yoong
Luke Chong Tuck Tze
Andrea Chow Choy Wen
Michelle Ho Chui-Yean
Kok Soo Aun
Kok Su Mei
Kuan Chee Choun
Eleanor Lee Hsiao Hsia
Deborah Leong Yin Wah
Gregory Ling Lee Yi
Low Tze Liang
Timothy Ooi Aik Tuan
Philip Poh Yik Hsiung
Teoh Lee Mei
Grace Tham Hui Yee
Amanda Tham Shin-Yi
Adrene Wong Huey Gin
Wong Kean Yee
Elaine Wong Pui Sze
Joshua Yap Joo Lake
Tan Wei Han
Liau Siau Suan
Goh Peck Sun
Carolyn Lo May Yeeng
Prody G Bartholome (Leader)
Yow Chaw Yarn
Chew Wei Chuan
Koh Xin Ying
Koh Jiun Yen
Trumpet 2 / French Horn
Wee Wei Peng
Chan Weng Hang
Clarinet / Flute
Ong Ket Wei
Lau Shan Moon
Chia Cheng Kok
Tan Chui Leng
THE PRODUCTION TEAM
|Producer & Music Director
|Co-Producer & Artistic Director
||Chin San Sooi
|Orchestrator & Asst Music Director
||Wong Wing Thim
|Asst Sound Engineer
||Chin San Sooi
||Loh Kok Man
||Angie Ng Sow Leng, Song Wee Kiat,
|Kong Chee Sun, Tan Meng Guan,
||Liew Kuan Mei, Moses Hon Kah Leong,
|Lim Ching Wei, Laurene Lee, Amy Quet
|Design & fabrication of props,
||Esther Ang, May Ang, Hong Chiuk Wai
|balcony, candles, masks and
||and Wong Li Yit
|Fitness & Conditioning
||Teh Chuan Seng
|Media & Public Relations
||Goh Peck Sun
|Front of House Manager
||Stella-In International Beauty Centre
|and Therapy Academy
||La' Mode Coiffure
||Bobby Y P Wong
|Webmaster & Multimedia
||Low Tze Liang
||Kok Soo Aun and Mason Wong
||Tunku Hazli Tunku Tolha
||Keats Markandu and her team
||Youth team of Petaling Jaya Gospel Hall
||Wong Li Jian, Au Soong Ern, Tan Guo Jeng,
|Yen Hoong Tien