I must admit to being a cultural Philistine. Since The Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay opened in Oct 12, 2002, I have never attended any event there. I am generally indifferent to art festivals and cultural events. Never regarded them as sufficiently important nor enjoyable that I would make time for them, or pay for them. Thus, when I was invited to a concert of sacred songs on a Saturday evening, I thought a while before I said Yes. It helped that there was a guest preacher on Sunday, and the tickets were a gift from a friend. So my wife and I went.
The concert of sacred songs was called, This On This Sure Shining Night. I did not know what to expect. Three highly trained classical singers, a pianist and a flutist. The atmosphere was relaxed and they sang one song after another for an hour or so. There was no PA system and I was surprised that their voices could be projected so powerfully. Some songs were esoteric and beyond my sensibility. Thankfully they were probably aware of this as sprinkled through the repertoire were more familiar songs like Ave Maria, The Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. Aaron Lee a poet I got to know through Facebook and casual lunch wrote comic lyrics of a song about Christmas shopping in Singapore. That was a stand-out song, very different, but well performed. Clearly there was a presentation of the good news of Jesus through the sacred and Christmas songs.
We met Monte and Jee Fong among the audience and he gave me an introduction to the Theatres by the Bay. They were certainly more culturally formed than my wife and I and we were happy to be shown around and informed of free events like Beautiful Sunday and other free programs in December .It was a pleasant relaxed evening for us and a good start and introduction to the arts and culture. May the Lord give me more understanding of the vital influence of arts and culture in societal change. May I be more culturally formed than I am at present.