The inspiring drumbeat of the Golden Melody Choir

By Lee Hsu Hsien

The joyful rhythm of percussion instruments was still reverberating in my mind as I hopped into a cab after spending some time with the Golden Melody Choir at Thye Hua Kwan Seniors Activity Centre @ Beo Crescent. While the motley crew of 23 retirees aged between 60 and 83 may not be professional musicians, their positivity and oomph were surprisingly infectious and inspiring.

With every thump of the bongo and ding-a-ling of the triangle, I was impressed not only by the attention and discipline they displayed throughout their weekly practice session, but tickled by the raucous laughter that broke out whenever they made a mistake or stumbled on beats. The choir’s founding volunteer and leader Vicky Phoon explained why she went beyond singing to introduce drumming to the Choir.

“Drumming requires a lot of concentration and coordination of the hands and minds, so I think it is very useful in helping our choir members stay active as they exercise both their vocals and their bodies.”

She added that the choir members, who are frequently invited to perform at various grassroots and national events, take much pride in donning their bright red vests and displaying their skills. Recently the group’s morale received a big boost when it received an invitation to perform at the Seventh Cantonese Opera Festival scheduled to be held in June at Guangzhou, China.

One particular lady stood out, not only for her fiery red hair but her immense warmth and hospitality. When I complimented her on her vibrant crimson mane, she coyly touched it and said: “I dye it this colour because that’s how I feel on the inside!”

Madam Ho Fong Lin, 73, told me she was the primary caregiver for her husband who is too weak to leave their home. Every morning, she makes breakfast, then goes to the market before preparing their lunch. After that, she heads to the SAC.

“I take care of my family, then I come here and meet my friends. We play music, we eat and then sing. I don’t have time for negativity. Life is that simple.”

After spending two hours at the SAC, I walked away a little more inspired, a little wiser and with new drum heroes I am now proud to call my friends. #girldrummersrock

Lee Hsu Hsien is a member of the Corporate Communications team at MOH Holdings.

Article published on: 4/5/2016