Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Voices Choir talks about what it takes to be a show choir
By Jilliane Lee
Since May this year, Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Voices Choir (NPVC) has become the first polytechnic choir in Singapore to become a show choir.
Set up in 1983, NPVC has had more than 20 years of experience as a concert choir. Being a show choir means adding choreography to choral singing. With the reformation of the club comes a new training regimen and song list.
Ms Deniece Foo, 30, one of the two co-directors at Glee Studios Singapore and the new co-instructor for NPVC, says: “With a show choir, we rarely do traditional music, [but] more popular music, contemporary, jazz, Broadway, music theatre, hip hop and K-Pop.”
Besides vocal training, NPVC members will undergo physical training as well to improve their fitness.
“They’ll be doing show choir warm-ups that require both singing and moving so they will run and sing, dance and sing, do jumping jacks and sing, to help them integrate singing and dancing,” says Ms Foo.
This change was brought about by the Student Development Office to attract more students to join NPVC.
Mr John Khoo, 32, second co-director of Glee Studios Singapore and partner to Ms Foo in coaching NPVC, says: “[Show Choir] has been a very good tool to reach out to youths because people who like to sing don’t usually take up choir as they feel that it’s boring.”
Ms Foo also adds that the school has been trying to engage and encourage more students to join the club since last year and that the school made the change to a show choir in order to keep their programme “fresh, interesting and engaging”.
According to an article by The Straits Times on Apr 2, 2015, show choirs gained traction in Singapore due to the popularity of the television series, Glee, among youths. Ms Foo and Mr Khoo have worked with more than 100 schools, a stark difference from the seven schools they worked with in 2012. Together with the schools, they plan musicals, hold workshops and classes, as well as host assembly shows where they share about show choirs.
However, despite acknowledging that show choirs will be more well-received amongst potential recruits, current members are not entirely certain about the change for the better. Nonetheless, they are excited about the opportunities that lie before them.
Kwa Xin Wei, 18, President of NPVC, says: “There’s now a challenge for all of us as there’s more physical training. There will definitely be more exciting performances because of the dancing and singing at the same time.”
Mr Khoo added that members of NPVC can anticipate more opportunities to perform outside of NP. Audiences of NPVC’s future shows can also expect songs with a completely different style as well as a “high standard of performances with impressive choreography and good singing”.
“It’s beyond being just a show choir. It’s about going there because you are passionate about singing [and] passionate about performing,” he says.
This July, NP Voices Choir will be participating in B-dazzled, an annual show choir festival in Singapore. They will also be performing as a show choir in the annual NP Voices concert, Prelude.