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Tapestry II

A concert review by Dr. Francis Tan

Following on the earlier success of Tapestry! last April, Penang Philharmonic Chorus and its sister group Penang Philharmonic Chamber Choir gave another excellent performance at Wawasan Open University Auditorium on Sunday 15th October 2023.

The programme was a multicoloured palette of popular numbers, folk songs, classical, jazz, Broadway musical, rendered mostly without instrumental accompaniment, in English and also German Finnish Spanish and Min Nan Hua for versatility.

PENANG PHILHARMONIC CHAMBER CHOIR PPCC started the ball rolling with a trio of popular numbers Stand by Me, Set Me as a Seal and Billy Joel’s finger snapping hit (“Oh, Oh, Oh For”) The Longest Time

The PENANG PHILHARMONIC CHORUS (Ladies section only) opened with a German oratorio from Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Psalm 121; then the men joined on stage and rendered two lyrical songs which had a “nature” theme: Something Told the Wild Geese and Who Has Seen the Wind.

This set the mood for the rest of the programme as PPC and PPCC took turns keeping the appreciative audience Happy Together by serving up the “heavier” stuff with lighter ones Hero and Irish Blessing (traditional).

Congratulations to both artistic directors Tan Jin Yin and Mak Chi Hoe for their working of their respective choirs, the choral arrangements and their light hearted engagement with the audience, when introducing the pieces with humour and confidence .

PPCCs rendition of Bang Tsun Hong (Longing for the Spring Breeze) a romantic Hokkien song made enormously popular by Taiwanese songstress Teresa Teng, with Jin Yin leading as soprano , was memorable especially for the senior generation.

The secret is out as both choirs will be representing Penang Philharmonic at the coming Malaysian Choral Eisteddfod 2023 international choral competition in Kuala Lumpur from Nov 2 – 5. Tapestry II was an opportunity for the singers to perform publicly and fine tune their voices and harmonies before the event.

The afternoon’s concert was rounded off by another popular number Gershwin’s Embraceable You (PPCC) and, finally both PPC and PPCC combined to fill the stage and sing Some Enchanted Evening from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

Naturally the audience demanded an encore of the same and also participated in the customary sing-along to give a fitting and rousing send off to both choirs on their next mission at the Eisteddfod.

May the road rise to meet you …. And may the sun shine warm upon your face…

Good Luck to our Penang Philharmonic Chorus and Chamber Choir.

Francis TAN

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