The Gift Goes On


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The Gift Goes On, was our 2005 Christmas musical to ring in the season of giving. The musical was an anthology of Christmas music and centred on the essence and substance of a gift as well as the giver. The Gift Goes On was staged at 8.30pm on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December 2005 at St Peter's Church, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur and held as a benefit concert for St Nicholas Home, Penang. Press conferences for the production were organised both in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

The musical bestowed a few traditional carols to usher in the season, then forged ahead with fresh and recent Christmas compositions and arrangements in the form of solos, duets, trios and choral works by contemporary composers such as Michael W Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Tony Guerroro and others.

The repertoire offered a bouquet of soulful and contemplative moments, spirited and high energy numbers, nostalgic melodies, inspiring duets and rousing anthems. Hot favourites of this musical include the dulcet accapella strains of "The First Noel" and "Oh Holy Night"; a rhythmic "Little Drummer Boy" juxtaposed with the chorus of "Bearing Gifts" in regal manner; the expressive and moving duets of "Breath of Heaven" and "The Prayer" and the majestic anthems of "The Christmas Gloria Medley" and "Light of the Stable". As an encore, the chorus rendered the majestic "Hallelujah Chorus" with the audience rising from their seats during the opening strains.

It was an evening of splendid Christmas music and we were honoured and priviledged to have the following dignitaries present: YB Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Lim Cheng Ean; YB Dato' Dr Ng Yen Yen, Deputy Minister of Finance I; His Excellency Dr Abraham Sokhaya Nkomo, South African High Commissioner to Malaysia and a few members of the diplomatic corps.



Program Notes



welcome from the chairman of st nicholas home



Welcome to this evening’s Christmas musical “The Gift Goes On” presented by The Canticle Singers as a benefit concert for The St Nicholas Home, Penang.  We are grateful to this group of dedicated singers, for their initiative and hard work in staging this concert in an effort which will also increase public awareness of our mission in Malaysia.

St Nicholas Home in Penang is the most established and the leading institution serving the visually challenged throughout Malaysia. Its aim is to integrate the visually challenged into the Malaysian community. Founded in 1926 originally to care for abandoned children in various hospitals in then, Malaya,  Singapore and even Burma (now Myanmar); the home today offers a wide range of services to the visually challenged including the provision of  independent living skills to equip them for open employment  or to prepare them to be independent visually challenged parents

The St. Nicholas’ Home depends on the goodwill and generosity of both corporate and individual donors, which enables us in turn to devote service and care to those who are visually challenged.  Indeed, the continuing selfless efforts of such generous donors will strengthen our resolve, empower us and make each step forward more positive and rewarding.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the many individuals and corporations who have provided assistance in one way or another to make this production possible.

Thank you for your presence and support and we wish you an enjoyable evening as you sit back and listen to an inspiring selection of Christmas music by The Canticle Singers.

Ven. Canon Andrew Phang See Yin



from the producer


After staging two productions each in 2003 and 2004, we decided to take a lighter load for the first half of this year and thus we did a singing tour of  some local churches in the Klang Valley. It was refreshing to be singing with different people with their own unique styles of worship.

Rehearsals for the “The Gift Goes On” began sometime in August and there was a lot more music that we wanted to include in this  musical but we just had to be selective. The musical styles in this production are the most diverse that we have attempted to date. We are indeed very privileged to be working with St Nicholas Home, Penang and are highly impressed by their mission and work through all these years. We hope that through our association,  the Home will attain and enjoy a higher level of corporate visibility and recognition, with  more individuals and corporations generously supporting the Home. 

It was a busy year for travelling. June saw Wing Thim and yours truly as guests at the Broadway Sound Masterclass at the Tribeca Performing Arts Centre, New York and a Vocal Masterclass at  the School of Church Music and Drama, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kentucky. For this, we are grateful to Mr Abe Jacob, Consultant to the New York City Opera and Dr Thomas Bolton and Dr Mozelle Clark Sherman of the school for their generosity and hospitality. Then in September, San Sooi took some time  off and joined us in Manila for a couple of meetings. Later, we made a couple of trips up to visit St Nicholas in Penang.

It has been a challenging year in terms of changes in the composition of our singers this year due to relocations and family commitments: with Philip Poh going into full time ministry and based in Shenyang, north of Beijing , Joshua taking up the post of  director of music with a local church in Muar, Clifford together with his family relocated to Singapore to care for his mother; Elvira who is busy with various gigs, Michelle Ho  is busy with M the Opera and Chuan Seng and Ivy taking some time off to care for their little Tiffany; and wedding bells are in the air.  Nevertheless, God has been kind in directing the right people to us and keeping us intact.

Together with Music Theatre, we plan to stage Chin San Sooi’s  musical “Refugee: Images” at Panggung Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur in August 2006. Isaac Chia, assisted by Anson Ong were commissioned to re-score much of the music and arrange it for SATB voices and a music ensemble. Open auditions for the cast are expected to begin sometime in January.  Then in early September, we will see the acclaimed dramatic monologue “Emily of Emerald Hill” playing at Gateway Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. It certainly looks like an exciting year ahead.

On behalf of  TCS, we wish you a meaningful and peaceful Christmas!

H K Chong



some thoughts on gift-giving


There is apparently a dubious spirit which grips people around December called the Christmas spirit. Some people who would not give a person money for a sandwich any other time of the year will now readily pull out some cash, saying "Merry Christmas." Beware, for it is the same spirit who controls the same people and their money throughout the year and then, during the Christmas season, he tells the people to give.

The giving of gifts at Christmas is a custom which perhaps developed in imitation of the Magi who gave gifts (which were symbolic) to the Christ child. Today, however, gift-giving often tends to be steeped in driving up business profits which makes us wonder if we should participate in the exchanging of Christmas gifts.

For many, the problem of  gift-giving arises from the commercialism attached and the pressure it exerts on  people to give gifts to people because it is expected rather than freely out of love. These abuses, however, should not invalidate the custom itself.  Another reason we should not be too absorbed with Christmas giving, is most people give Christmas gifts to those who are able to give them one in return.

Another point of concern to the giver, is the intrinsic value of the gift. Is it too little or too much and what would the recipient think?  Questions then arise on  the real motive behind giving each gift? 

And what about the giving of ourselves – of our labour, efforts and time, the last perhaps being the most precious resource. Indeed, it would be easier for the majority of people to part with their hard earned money than for them to dedicate any of their time.  

The Good Book speaks clearly about giving to those who ask of us and also giving to those who have need. And it is a well known fact that many people ask for and need help at many other times during the year, than just Christmas.

At the end of it all, it is important that whatever we decide to give, we give cheerfully from our heart and use gifts, during the Christmas season and other times, to remind ourselves and loved ones of God’s incomparable gift to us. And do remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive and may our giving go on and on.

The Canticle Singers



from the artistic director


As I write this, the cast and the music director are struggling to get the music in pitch and in place.  As I hear and see them struggle, my heart goes out to them for my task in this production seems so easy in comparison.

They have invested time and effort to give of their talent so that this Christmas season would be meaningful.  In the songs they sing, they share the greatest gift given to man, Jesus. In coming together, they share their talent so that you and others can participate in the grace of God, twice blest.

God’s gifts are not wrapped in tinsel, gift wrappers and ribbons, not placed at the foot of Christmas trees.  They are not apparent; they are in you; they quietly glow in care, concern and charity.  They radiate in us.

I would like to think “The Gift Goes On” has touched us, the company, in presenting it.  I would like to think that it touches you too so that together we lay out talents before God unconditionally as He has given us His love unconditionally.

Enjoy the evening and God bless.

San Sooi



Shine On Us
Words & Music by Michael W Smith &
Deborah D SMith, Arranged by Lari Goss
This Baby Boy
Yow Keong, Quintet 1
Words & Music by Tony Guerrero
& Chorus
Arranged by Lari Goss
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Chorus, Quintet 2
Words & Music by Charles Wesley
& Felix Mendelssohn
The First Noel
Traditional English Carol
Cantique De Noel
Agnes & Timothy
Words & Music by Adolphe Adam
Arranged by Carl Deis
Whan Can I Give Him?
Words & Music by Christine Rossetti
& Don Cason. Arranged by David T Clydesdale
Breath of Heaven with What Can I Give?
Jan Mie, Tze Liang
Word & Music by Chris Eaton, Amy Grant,
& Chorus
Claire Cloninger, Gary Rhodes anad Steve Fry
Arranged by Gary Rhodes
Light of the Stable with The First Noel
Words & Music by Dawn Rhymer and 
Grant Rhymer.  Arranged by Lari Goss
The Best Gift of All
Anson, Benny,
Words & Music by Paula Carpenter and
Chee Leong & Chorus
Russell Mauldin.  Arranged by Gary Rhodes
Christmas Glory Medley
Words & Music - Traditional
Arranged by Lari Goss
Love Has Come with Every Good and Perfect
Jan Mie & Chorus
Gift, The Gift Goes On
Word & Music by Amy Grant, Shane Keister,
Michael W Smith, Claire Cloninger, Ron Harris.
Arranged by Gary Rhodes
Jesus, You're Beautiful with
Swee Chin,
Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
Elizabeth (understudy)
Words & Music by Nate Sabin
& Chorus
Arranged by David T Clydesdale
The Little Drummer Boy
Men's Quintet
with Bearing Gifts
& Chorus
Katherine Davis, Henry Onoriti and Harry Simeone
Arranged by David T Clydesdale
What Can I Give Him?
Amanda, Shirani
Words & Music by Christina Rossetti &
& Chorus
Don Cason.  Arranged by David T Clydesdale
Treasure of Jesus
Geoffrey & Chorus
Words & Music by Steven Curtis Chapman
Arranged by David T Clydesdale
The Prayer
Agnes, Praveen
Words & Music by Carol Bayer-Sayer and
& Chorus
Richard Foster.  Arranged by Lari Goss
One Solitary Life
Music & Words - Traditional
Arranged by Lari Goss
When He Comes Again
Words & Music by Rebecca J Park
Arranged by Lari Goss
Quintet 1
Shirani, Swee Chin, Gek Sim, Nyok Fong & Yow Keong
Quintet 2
Agnes, Anatolia, Elizabeth, Chee Leong & Geoffrey
Men's Quintet
Yow Keong, Chee Leong, Anson, Benny & Timothy

the company


Praveen Abraham
Shirani Amarasingham
Chang Yow Keong
Cheah Jan Mie
Anatolia Chiam
Foo Nyok Fong
Khu Gek Sim
Lam Chee Leong
Benny Liew Seong Hin
Low Tze Liang
Anson Ong
Timothy Ooi Aik Tuan
Pan Swee Chin
Elizabeth Tai Siew Lin
Amanda Tham
Toh Jo Lynn
Geoffrey Woo
Agnes Yeow

the production team

Producer & Music Director H K Chong
Co-Producer & Artistic Director
Chin San Sooi
Technical Director
Wong Wing Thim
Stage Manager
Noel Jayaratnam
Sound & Recording Engineers
Kenneth Ooi, Harris Cazaly
assisted by
Lim Kim Hoe, Jonathan Ooi Kean Ee
Lighting Design
Chin San Sooi
Lighting Engineer
Seamus Lim Yong Tian
Front of House Manager
Pearlly Chua
Choir Manager
Low Tze Liang
Chorus Master
Praveen Abraham
Multimedia Presentation
Wong Li Jian
Interior Decoration
Esther Ang & Hong Chiuk Wai
Production Assistants
Angie Ng, Song Wee Kiat,
Kong Chee Sun, Liow Chit Chong
Production Accountant
Cheah Jan Mie
Webmaster & Multimedia Trailer
Low Tze Liang
Ushering Services
Jean Cheah & friends
The ladies from PJ Gospel Hall
Refreshments & traffic direction
The Boys' Brigade from 
Trinity Methodist Church