A GRAND PASSION

THE STRAITS TIMES
30 November 200
BY Ng Hui Hui

 

Fifteen-year-old Clarence Lee cannot live without his piano — all $35,000 of it.

MADAM Amily Chan could have bought a new car in July, but chose to splurge $35,000 on a Shigeru Kawai grand piano for her only son Clarence Lee instead.

The 15-year—old says: “Yes, my parents spent a bomb for me to pursue my passion. I can’t live without the piano.”

His 53-year-old father has his own accountancy firm and drives Clarence to his piano classes no matter how busy he is.

True to his word, the Secondary 3 student from Canberra Secondary School plays the instrument wherever he is.

“I would imagine myself playing the piano and my fingers would be tapping on the keys. But I try to do it behind closed doors so people won’t think I’m crazy,” he says with a chuckle.

He practises up to five hours a day and will be showcasing his skills during the ChildAid concert on Dec 7 and 8.

The charity event, organised by The Straits Times (ST) and The Business Times (BT), will be held at the University Cultural Centre.

Besides showcasing Singapore’s young musical talents, it also aims to raise $300,000 for The ST School Pocket Money and The BT Budding Artists funds. They will share the proceeds.

President S R Nathan will grace the gala opening on Dec 7, which is for corporate sponsors. The second night is open to the public.

Lee will perform only on the first night as he has a competition the next day. ’

Tickets for the second night are selling well. As of yesterday, only about 20 per cent of the 1,390 tickets were left.

The programme line-up includes a wide range of  performances from ballroom dancing to singing. The dancers are eight-year-old Ashton de Silva and seven-year-old R. Reynita. The singers include JazzKids and opera singer Janani Sridhar, 15.

Young talents such as 13-year-old Abigail Sin, 15-year-old Loh Jun Hong and eight-year-old Lee Yun Chai will also be entertaining the audience with their piano, violin and harp numbers respectively.

Mr Lim Sek, chief executive of Music & Movement which is the event’s creative consultant, says: “Some parts of the show may still be a little bit ‘raw’ but they boast of a very upbeat and ‘young’ feel.

“However, audiences have nothing to worry because the kids are really the cream of the crop and are among the best in their genre of entertainment.”