Risen Christ youth orchestra raises funds for Syrian refugees
The audience in the Church of the Risen Christ listened in rapt attention as vocal, violin and flute soloists displayed their virtuosity, and as the orchestra performed music from Lord of the Rings and familiar Christmas classics.
The 60-member strong Risen Christ Youth Symphony staged A Light to the World, a concert in aid of the Syrian refugees in Europe on Dec 5.
The concert also saw the premiere performance of a Childhood Scenes of Singapore, a piece composed by the orchestra’s conductor, Dr Aloysius Leong.
Dr Leong explained to the audience that as a result of the terror attacks in Paris, more doors in Europe will now be closed to the refugees who are already living in dire conditions.
A musician can respond to the anger, violence and terrorist activities in the world today by taking up his instrument, as music can heal and bring peace in chaos, he added.
Dr Leong also noted that the parish-based orchestra is made up of young people from different backgrounds, religions and ethnicities, and that this makes it a microcosm of Singapore’s cohesive multiculturalism.
Dr Leong told CatholicNews that the orchestra received a pleasant surprise when Pope Francis himself apparently replied to a member’s email. Mr Daniel Chin, a violinist, had emailed the Vatican to tell the pope about the orchestra’s desire to help the refugees through the concert.
Mr Chin later received an emailed letter from Msgr Peter B Wells, Assessor of the Vatican Secretariat of State, saying that the “Holy Father has received your letter, and he has asked me to thank you. He appreciates the concerns which prompted you to share your work with him.”
The letter goes on to say: “His Holiness will remember you and the members of the Risen Youth Symphony in his prayers. Invoking upon you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ, he sends you his blessing.”
According to Dr Leong, the total amount raised at the concert was more than $14,000, which will be given to CHARIS ((Caritas Humanitarian Aid & Relief Initiatives, Singapore), to dispense to the refugees.
The youth orchestra, the brainchild of parish priest Fr John Sim, started in January 2013. It has performed for various Church events including the SG50 Mass on July 4.