Last Saturday, we did something different from our usual mall hopping escapades. We had a picnic at Botanic Gardens! And not just with food & drinks, we had wonderful entertainment—we were sitting in front of a garden concert. It was a great experience at “Jubilee at the Botanics” organised by Temasek.
The event featured the best of Singapore’s classical music—the Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO) and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO). Having these music greats perform at such a casual setting was definitely an easy soft introduction to music performances for the kids! And it’s Free!!
I never thought I could have a comfortable picnic in Singapore—the weather’s too humid, the grass is too prickly and there’s just no where fun to picnic here! Ahhh.. and I was pleasantly surprised! When we arrived at the Botanic Gardens, it was late afternoon. The sun was not blazing hot anymore, there was a slight breeze and with all the greenery around, it just felt cooler than normal!
We set up in front of the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage and realised this was a popular spot for picnics! We saw several families hanging out together like a planned outing, courting couples and groups of friends simply hanging out. There were many with pet dogs, Frisbees, balls, play yards etc. It was quite an amazing sight!
And when the concert began, there was a respectful hush across the gardens. For a full hour, it was surreal to see all the kids and babies go silent and watch the concert. And the young people stopped their chatting to pay attention. There were senior citizens in our midst and usually they are chatting at the top of their voices, but no so this time! Amazing. It felt like music was the universal glue that brought people together!
Each orchestra played a selection of well-loved local and international favourites, interspersed with timeless classics and contemporary tunes for all to enjoy. We had SCO performing on Saturday and the highlight was really the finale song “Home”, which local songbird Tay Kewei sang. It felt like a mini-NDP! There was an air of patriotism, we sang along at the top of our voices, the kids didn’t sing, they shouted the song out! The song is beginning to be a national classic! While we were just seated on the picnic mats in the gardens, we felt really at Home.
I remember going for SSO concerts at least twice a year when I was growing up. My mum believed in exposing us to music, and if it was a live performance, it was best! I remember my sister and I dressing up and sitting in Victoria Concert Hall to watch the show. But we stopped going when the stresses of school work started. Suddenly there were more ‘important’ things to do, places to go. Thus it was not surprising that my husband is not a big fan, and thus we’ve never thought of ever bringing the kids to watch a music concert.
But watching the concert on Saturday was an eye opener for the kids. (and me! I’ve never watched the SCO ever before!) It was fun for me to explain to the kids what the conductor was doing, who is playing what and what is the next song up! When we heard the familiar tunes, it was easy to sway along, hum and sing together. What a great experience!
Even as I type now, I’m looking forward to the next Temasek event which would bring music and people together. As soon as the dates are out, I’m marking them down. It would be great for more outdoor family time with classic entertainment for all.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are 100% my own