Last night, I attended a choral performance called ‘Together as One – Faiths united through choral music”.
Not the most attention-grabbing theme and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’m a tad sceptical about attending any kind of performance because I don’t like being let down. That said, my brother’s recommendations – and performances – have never let me down yet.
In fact, I usually find myself reluctant to attend any kind of performance – you’ve got to buy tickets, be there on time, put up with miscellaneous annoyances that range from traffic to inconsiderate audience members, etc.
But once I’m there and the performance starts, I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. There’s something magical when the auditorium dims and the stage lights up, and these incredibly brave and talented individuals step forward to sing their hearts out. It awes me that they can literally pour themselves into their art, bare themselves to an audience and – most importantly – do it with so much joy and enthusiasm.
‘Together as One’ was no different, and each time I attend a great performance like this one, I am convinced that it is the best I’ve ever seen, the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced. From the start, the musical arrangement, the vocals and performance was captivating and there were times I felt I could just close my eyes and drift away. Never mind that the songs were in different languages, from Arabic and Hindi to Latin and Mandarin; I couldn’t understand any of it, but it enveloped me nonetheless.
The production was put together by Susanna Saw as Musical Director and supported by performing arts stalwarts Joe Hasham and Faridah Merican, together with Lex Lakshman Balakrishnan (Choreographer), Tracy Wong (Music Director) and Caipifruta Vocal Quartet (Tracy Wong, Lai Suk Yin, Aaron Teoh and Joel Wong), and featured 32 members of The Young KL Singers.
Dressed in muted colours with bare feet, they sang, stomped, danced and clapped their way through 16 songs that “celebrate faith, respect, and most importantly, unity.” Opening with the haunting Azan (Islamic call to prayer, better known as ‘Bilal’ in Malaysia) and working their way through to the Asatoma Satgamaya (a mantra found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, a philosophical text considered to be an early source of the Hindu religion), the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and Buddhist ‘Compassion for Mankind’, the effect was both stunning and mesmerising.
Though the full programme was only an hour long, it felt timeless as they wound their way through prayers, chants and devotions that have resonated through billions of individuals over thousands of years. Closing with ‘We are One’ (a Bahá´í Faith-inspired song) which moves me to tears even thinking about it, the entire presentation was a beautifully crafted musical message for human beings of every faith.
My heartfelt thanks goes out to all the singers, directors, sound technicians, stage crew, volunteers, sponsors and everyone else involved who made this possible. You guys are incredible.
‘Together as One – Faiths united through choral music” is presented by the Young Choral Academy and The Actors Studio. Opening night was Wednesday, 9 November @ 8.30pm and nightly performances continue until Saturday, 12 November before ending with a matinee on Sunday, 13 November. Tickets are RM30; programme booklets available for a minimum donation of RM5. Limited tickets still available; call KLPAC @ Sentul Park: 04-4047 9000 / The Actors Studio @ Lot 10 : 03-2142 2009 / 03-2143 2009. For Walk-in : ILasso Tickets (A606, Block A, Phileo Damansara II, Petaling Jaya)