Launch of The Purple Symphony: Training Award Programme to provide persons with special needs and disadvantaged individuals with equal access to music lessons and performing opportunities 

SINGAPORE, 25 JULY 2016 – Singapore’s largest inclusive orchestra, The Purple Symphony, and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has introduced a new programme to provide persons with special needs and disadvantaged individuals an opportunity to pursue their musical talent.Called The Purple Symphony: Training Award Programme, it will expand the orchestra’s outreach and give more than 90 such individuals the opportunity to learn music and perform in public. GIC is committed to provide support of $450,000 over three years to develop the musical talent and confidence of award recipients.

One of the first few to benefit from the programme is Ms Wan Wai Yee, 44. Visually impaired, Wai Yee has always had a passion for singing, and listened closely to cassette tapes to help her improve her vocal ability. With The Purple Symphony: Training Award Programme, Wai Yee will be able to hone her skills with professional vocal coaches and pursue her dream of being a professional theatre star.

The Purple Symphony was introduced to the stage by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC) last year. It comprises 90 musicians with and without special needs, coming together to serve the community through their common passion for music. At its inaugural concert on 17 July 2016, the orchestra showcased their unique abilities to over 450 guests at the Drama Centre at the National Library Building.

Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District said: “The Purple Symphony signals how Singapore is becoming more inclusive as a society. The opportunity to discover, hone and apply one’s musical abilities should be available to all, regardless of their background. The new Purple Symphony: Training Award Programme seeks to develop the musical talents of persons with special needs and/or who are disadvantaged. It will provide them with equal access to develop their skills and learn from trained professionals, as well as allow them to perform with others and serve the community on a public platform.”

Ms Deanna Ong, GIC’s Director for Human Resource & Organization added: “GIC believes in building more confident and inclusive communities in Singapore, and is excited to partner Purple Symphony for this training award programme. We believe Purple Symphony offers a unique opportunity to develop and showcase these talented Singaporeans. Through this meaningful experience of learning and performing, the recipients will grow in confidence and inspire all of us to play more active roles in our communities.”

Growth of The Purple Symphony
Led by Artistic Director Mr Quek Ling Kiong, The Purple Symphony has grown in the past year, with more musicians with and without special needs signing up as members of this meaningful initiative.

These include Mr Ng Kok Wee, 46, an experienced dizi player who suffers from Ankylosing spondylitis – an inflammatory disease that causes some of the vertebrae in the spine to fuse together. Despite his condition, Kok Wee’s cheerful disposition and passion for music keeps him going. He joined The Purple Symphony this year to continue in his pursuit of music.

Said Mr Quek: “We want to include people with special needs and showcase their musical talents through The Purple Symphony. By coming together to make music as one, we learn how to share and care for others, and that different people have different needs.”

An increasing number of Singaporeans, organisations and celebrities alike are getting to know about The Purple Symphony, with the orchestra receiving support from popular local artiste Benjamin Kheng of The Sam Willows, who made a special guest appearance at the inaugural concert on Sunday.

You can read the programme fact sheet when you download the full news release.