The combined CHIJ school choirs performing in the concert finale at Catholic Junior College.The combined CHIJ school choirs performing in the concert finale at Catholic Junior College.

The performers sang different songs but wore the same uniform: a blue pinafore and white blouse.

All 11 Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) school choirs recently came together to hold a concert as part of their ongoing 160th anniversary celebrations.

Titled Te Deum, the concert was held at the Catholic Junior College Performing Arts Centre on Aug 2, with a matinee at 3pm and the gala show at 7.30pm.

Te Deum (You, O God) is a traditional Latin Catholic hymn of joy and thanksgiving which was sung by the IJ Sisters at Mass upon arriving in Singapore in 1854.

Supervisor of the CHIJ Schools Sr Deirdre O’Loan who was at the matinee show, gave the opening address.
CHIJ alumna, Ms Faridah Ali, singing onstageCHIJ alumna, Ms Faridah Ali, singing onstage
She said that it was “wonderful to see so many faces gathered in friendship with CHIJ”, and that “our schools have grouped together in song”.

“Te Deum links us with our history and links us with the gratitude in our hearts for 160 years of blessings,” she added.

Sr Deirdre also said that it is a “distinctive mark of our schools” to have “the gift of song as a special way of rejoicing”.

Choirs from all the 11 CHIJ schools joined in: CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity, CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace, CHIJ St Joseph’s Convent, CHIJ Katong Convent, CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, CHIJ Kellock Primary, CHIJ Katong Primary, and CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh).

Each choir performed one or two items, ranging from medleys, songs in languages such as Mandarin, Japanese and Latin, to songs of praise.

Two CHIJ alumni also sang solo pieces during the concert: Ms Faridah Ali from the former Town Convent (current CHIJ Secondary Toa Payoh) and class of 1977, and Ms Lim Huimin, from CHIJ Secondary Toa Payoh and class of 2002.

Towards the end of the concert, after the CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) choir had performed, CHIJ Katong Primary joined them on stage to perform together.

About 100 girls (aged below 12) sang in unison.

The other CHIJ schools then joined in for the finale.

Together, they performed Festival Te Deum, as well as a song well-known among many CHIJ students, Hold On to Our Dream.

Members of the audience in the matinee show stood up and join the choirs in singing.

The concert is one of several events to celebrate 160 years of CHIJ.

Other events set to take place include a bazaar and a gala dinner in November, planned by the CHIJ Alumni.

By Clara Lai
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