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Madam Lee Fee Khoon

Tann Soon Pin, PPO's concertmistress has kindly written a tribute to Madam Lee Fee Khoon, or fondly known to her as Mrs. Sam.

"Mrs. Sam, my mentor, was not only my teacher but our family friend for three generations. Her father was my grandfather's poker friend, and she and my mum had the same piano teacher, Mrs. Ramanathan (Penang first mayor's wife). I went to her for my FTCL and diploma theory, which I achieved a lot from her. Being an accomplished teacher, she selflessly introduced me to have lessons with the late Mr. Dennis Lee.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to you, Mrs. Sam, for always giving me a part in your musical groups. This started with the charity concert - Dennis Lee & Friends in October 2000. I was fortunate enough to be the accompanist for the choir. After the event, they decided to carry on singing in a smaller group. The members could not have been more diverse in personalities,professions, and backgrounds. Among us are doctors,music teachers, a professional jazz musician, retirees of all sorts (engineer, business consultant, teacher, bank and corporate executive), both homegrown or from abroad. Dr. Lim Boon Cheok came up with Dolci Voci, Italian for 'sweet voices'. Our invitations for charity concerts started from 2002 - 2017. Just to name a few; St Nicholas Home for the blind, TAR College Fund, Riding for the Disabled Association, FGA charity for the poor, La Salle Learning Centre, Befrienders, Dignity and Services, Carif (KL), Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Cameron Highlands, School for the Mentally Retarded by Penang Hospice, which took place on a three-day Penang-Phuket Krabi cruise on the Superstar Libra, Love and Hope, for children of Nepal. But more importantly, with inspirational heights of musical pinnacles, we managed to raise a tidy sum of about 3.5 million for various charitable organisations. In September 2015, we were honoured to perform at E&O Hotel for a charity concert in aid of BOLD at the Steinway 2015 Red D World Tour. Thanks to the manager, Ms. Low Hui Yong. We enjoyed very much in the group. Besides singing, we had a lot of gatherings ranging from potluck dinners to street food dining and posh restaurants. Thanks to Tan Sri Dr. Sak Cheng Lam and Puan Sri Dr. Irene Sak who always provide us transports and good treats.

Later, Mrs. Sam started music for two pianos, which we called 'Piano Fun'. We had our first public performance on 3rd of June 2014 - Piano Fun with Steinway at E&O hotel. Occasionally, we had performances at her house with a few invited guests as our audience. Among the pianists are Aldina Van Crombrugge, Chihiro Kawabuchi Walienne, Pauline Chin, Lynne Chum, Megumi, Mrs. Sam and me. We always had great fun during our practices. Wherever there is a plan for a concert, Mrs. Sam was very excited, she would called me many times in a day to discuss about the concert. In all performances, she would prepare some snacks for her guests. She would never miss out her favourite curry puff from nearby my house. I had to collect on the way to her house on the concert day.

Besides music, Mrs. Sam was actively involved in tennis, gardening, flower arrangements, very good in Bridge, liked white colour clothes and cooking. Her signature dish was Tau Eu Bak. Whenever there is a potluck for Dolci Voci, she would cook Tau Eu Bak. She was also very keen on gatherings, especially after MCO, always calling up friends from DV and Piano Fun for meet up. She also liked to ask her music friends, Yoshiko Ikemura and Tomonari Tsuchiya to practise and sometimes perform at her house.

My last meet-up with Mrs. Sam was on the 4th of July 2022, with the Yum Cha group. They were the Chum sisters, Philip Chang, Mrs. Sam and me. We met up occasionally and had a wonderful time non stop exchanging news and laughter.

On 30th Aug 2022, she texted me that she was waiting to see the cardiologist at Specialist centre. Irregular pulse, tired easily and swollen legs were her complains. Requested me to keep fingers crossed for her. On 22nd September, while she was in KL waiting for surgery, her thoughts were still on Dolci Voci, kept asking me for photos of DV. During her leisure time, she would compile as much as she could concerning DV and Piano Fun. My last chat with her was two days before the surgery on 13th October. She told me not to worry, after surgery she will be as good as new.

Thanks Mrs. Sam for bringing all good memories of the good old days. Thanks for all your guidance, friendship, and love, which I treasure dearly in my heart. RIP."

Requiem, June 25th, will be performed in memory of Madam Lee Fee Khoon.

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