A BIG TREAT is in store
for Wesleyan hymn lovers when they turn up for the Aldersgate
2005 Hymn Festival at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church (TA2
Sanctuary) on May 28, 2005 at 7.45 pm.
TA2 Sanctuary is at 61, Wishart Road, off Telok Blangah Road, next door to Grace Methodist Church.
The Hymn Festival is one of four segments of the Aldersgate Convention 2005, part of the year-long programme of activities to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the founding of The Methodist Church in Singapore.
The convention will kick off with the Aldersgate Service at Faith Methodist Church/Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church on May 24 at 7.45 pm. In addition, there will be three evening talks at Barker Road Methodist Church on May 25, 26 and 27 starting at 7.45 pm, and a two-day seminar at Sophia Blackmore Hall, Methodist Centre, on May 27 and 28 starting at 9 am.
The Methodist School of Music (MSM), which is in charge of the Hymn Festival, is assembling a 70-strong choir that will be under the baton of a professional conductor, Ms Wong Lai Foon. Ms Wong, who holds a Master of Music degree in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College of Rider University, the US, is a member of the renowned Westminster Choir and has performed with major US orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
She is actively involved in the local choral scene, and is the Assistant Conductor of The Philharmonic Chamber Choir. In recent years, she has collaborated with the Singapore Lyric Opera in several opera productions as chorus master.
There will also be a professional brass ensemble - a first for an Aldersgate Hymn Festival. Then there will be an orchestra to be conducted by Mr Jusuf Kam of Wesley Methodist Church, a well-known face in the Methodist music scene. And according to Ms Mary Gan, Principal of the MSM, there are also plans to assemble a Children's Choir.
Charles Wesley's hymns will feature prominently, this being a celebration of John Wesley's heartwarming experience at Aldersgate and 120 years of Singapore Methodism.
Among the hymns will be "And Can It Be", "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing", and "Rejoice The Lord Is King", all-time favourites which congregation members will only be too happy to lend their voices to as there will be opportunities for congregational singing.
Newer and lesser known hymns, too, will be featured. One or two of Bishop Dr Robert Solomon's songs, including the now familiar "I Shall Praise You, Lord", will be sung.
One Wesleyan hymn, "Jesus, Lord, We Look To Thee", will be presented with new Asian music setting by Mr Lim Swee Hong, who is reading his Ph.D in liturgical studies at Drew University in the US.
The Aldersgate Hymn Festival Choir will hold its first two rehearsals at Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church in Telok Ayer Street on May 3 and 10 at 7.30 pm. There will be three other rehearsals - at the TA2 Sanctuary in Wishart Road on May 16 and 26 at 7.30 pm, and on May 28, the day of the Hymn Festival itself, at 4 pm.
Those who want to sing with the choir can still sign up with the Methodist School of Music by calling 6767-5258.