Our Canossian schools — St Anthony’s Canossian Primary and Secondary, Canossa Convent Primary and the Canossian School for the hearing impaired — made up a 180-strong combined choir to perform in an interfaith concert celebrating SG50. They sang Let There Be Peace on Earth at the concert titled Harmony in Diversity, celebrating religious and racial Harmony in Singapore.
Held at The Star Vista in a crowd of about 5,000, the event was jointly organised by New Creation Church and Taoist Federation (Singapore). It brought together 10 of the major religions — including Buddhists and Bahai’s, Christians, Hindus and Muslims — and the four main races in Singapore in song and dance. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the guest of honour.
Deacon Matthew Kang, Chairman of New Creation Church, said, “As Singapore celebrates the 50th year of its independence, we give thanks for one of the most precious legacies that has been handed down to us – our racial and religious harmony. It is something worth celebrating and New Creation Church and Taoist Federation are happy and honoured to be co-organising this meaningful event.”
Mr Tan Thiam Lye, Chairman of Taoist Federation (Singapore), added, “We are very happy and encouraged that every race and religion represented in Singapore is involved in some way in tonight’s celebration event. Through this event, the relationships between the leaders of different faiths and races have been strengthened. This is a wonderful outcome.”
Sr Theresa Seow FDCC, Vice-Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and member of the event’s organising committee, shared her delight for the Catholic Church’s involvement in this interfaith event: “To see 180 children of our Catholic schools come together to perform was beautiful.”
She added: “The song performed by the choir was an appropriate one for the occassion, seeing that peace among different religions is what we’ve had in Singapore these 50 years. It is also our desire for future generations to have this peace, not just here in Singapore, but also in the world; it was symbolic that it is the children who sang that message.”
In spite of the logistical and administrative challenges of bringing so many schools together, the schools overcame the obstacles because “everyone was excited about participating in the event,” shared Ms Chua Lee Beng, HOD of CCA at St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School.
Recalling the performance, Ms Chua added: “I was watching the students sing on stage from the holding room backstage and I could not help but feel a sense of pride of the combined effort of the four schools, coming together as one Canossian family to share the message of peace with the different religions and races in Singapore. The reviews that I read on Facebook reaffirmed that their song touched those who attended the event that night.”
Apart from the performance put up by our Catholic schools, the concert also featured a drum performance by members from the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, a solo Indian classical dance, and songs by a multiracial group of singers, and a special joint martial arts display by Wudang Sheng Hong Health Preservation Centre and Perguruan Sim Putih. The night ended with the recitation of the national pledge of Singapore, a fitting reminder that “we, the citizens of Singapore” are “one united people, regardless of race, language or religion”.