Charity concert featuring The Phil an event to remember

CHRISTMAS is a time for giving and sharing. And what better gift to share than one’s time and talents?

The choir of the Philharmonic Society of Selangor (affectionately known as The Phil) did just that when they performed at the Christmas In Song – Charity Concert 2011 on the weekend before Christmas. The concert was held at Luther Centre in Jalan Utara, Petaling Jaya.

Ninety of the choir’s members sang with all their hearts under the direction of Cheryl Teh. They enthralled the audience during the two-hour concert which was held in aid of the Selangor State Boy’s Brigade.

The Phil took the audience down memory lane with P. Ramlee’s well-loved Getaran Jiwa and a medley of popular songs by the Beatles, including It’s Been A Hard Day’s Work, Hey Jude, Yesterday, She Loves You, and Sg Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

As the concert was partly a thanksgiving show for the success of their Western Australian tour in August and September, the community choir also performed songs with an Australian flavour, namely, By The Boab Tree and Bush Carol. The boab (or baobab) tree is found only in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

After the intermission, the choir set the mood for Christmas with 12 traditional and contemporary Christmas carols. There was a lovely twist to this section when they sang in languages other than English. There was Dona Nobis Pacem (Latin for “Give Us Peace”) while the Silent Night medley was rendered in English, German (Stille Night) and the Portuguese-Eurasian language, Kristang (Tresti Di Anoiti).

Other numbers sung in Kristang were Bensua Di Anoiti (Holy Night) and Jah Beng Anoiti Klaru (It Came Upon A Midnight Clear), much to the delight of a few audience members who know the language and eagerly sang along.

Showcasing their amazing vocals on stage were soloists Peter Wong (who sang The Prayer), Wong Hui Lee (My Christmas Tree), Suzan Manen (in the jazzy number Christmas Wishes) and Neil Wilson (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas).

Nish Tham, Ryan Lee-Bhaskaran and Joseph Arnesto provided wonderful music accompaniment on the keyboard, drums and bass, respectively.

It was such a mesmerising show that even after it ended, the audience called out for more. For the encore, the choir belted out the Spanish Christmas song Feliz Navidad, and got the audience to stand up and sing along.

The charity concert also featured a fancy drill performance by members of the Boys’ Brigade from the 1st PJ, 4th PJ, 1st Puchong and 1st Serdang companies. It was an energetic and creative item combining dance and marching. At one point during the performance, the boys and girls whipped out and put on their stylish sunglasses. Their performance drew tremendous applause.

Proceeds from the concert will support children and youth served by the various Boys’ Brigade (BB) companies in Selangor.

“We enjoyed the concert thoroughly! It’s great to see the mix of people of various ages in the choir, and such harmony between the generations. The choir director is really the pillar of strength behind it,” said Kathy Wong, who attended the concert with her husband William. “The BB boys and girls looked smart in their uniforms, and the fancy drill was great!”

Another audience member, Lee Har Bee, also expressed her delight with the show. “I really enjoyed it! The Phil is very interesting. Their members are made up of young and old. I was especially amazed with their older members — they’re so vibrant and their singing is so beautiful. They were very inspiring. And I was surprised at the fancy drill — it was different and so refreshing. It shows that members of BB, which is well-known for its discipline, can have fun, too — good, clean fun.”

* If you love singing and want to join The Phil, visit

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