By Philip T C Yeoh, Bass 2
I was already singing in another choir for years before I joined the PPC in 2019 for its concert "Kom!" that December.
I joined up when I heard Mak Chi Hoe was appointed Director. I was already acquainted before then with his work with the Young KL Singers, and decided I could progress musically under his baton. I was not disappointed at all.
His warm-up voice drills over these years have been cumulatively invaluable to me and my art, as has been the experience of watching how he breaks down those more problematic passages and how he directs us. As Chi Hoe runs through our pieces, he occasionally regales us with intriguing backstories about the works and their composers. And then he navigates the PPC through them with an excellent ear for nuance. Bloopers along the way? They were a-plenty and the gap between chorister standards is wide, but he rigorously identifies our missteps with patience and his inimitable sense of humour.
What particularly impressed me was how Chi Hoe pulls a practice together to be highly productive for both chorister and choir. For Faure’s REQUIEM Concert 2023, he and Director Tan Jin Yin of the PPCC similarly rose to the challenge. They kept their combined choir of over 80 singers on track, ensuring that every aspect of our music was duly practised and then finishing every practice right on time. What is remarkable about our concert itself was, despite the orchestra and combined choir never having performed together before, our Directors and Resident Conductor pulled together to produce an audience experience that is in fact the most complete edition of Faure’s "Requiem" ever performed In Penang. For the first time in my personal experience and memory, every movement of Requiem was executed with a full orchestra, an unprecedented 80-strong choir and professionally sung solos by Baritone and Soprano.
The PPC may now be understandably known for its part in REQUIEM 2023, but it is also more than the concerts it does. My full experience in the PPC also comprises a collection of memories we share along the way; the camaraderie from a show well-sung, the friendships we form with each other, the extracurricular hangouts we have, and their like.
For me, the PPC is more than where I sing in weekly, but also where many of my friends are. Cni Hoe seems to agree. In his own words, "Among all the choirs I am leading, the PPC is the most chill."