Rehearsal for Life: Singapore Youth Orchestra 1980-1990
Wong Sher Maine & Vivien Goh
Singapore: Vivien Goh, 2015
ISBN: 9789810955328

Youth Orchestras have had a checkered history in Singapore. This book traces Youth Orchestra activities from the 1930s when first glimpses of it appeared in the press in Singapore. It was only in 1980 that the Singapore Youth Orchestra was put on a firm footing with the full backing of the Singapore Government as represented by Dr Goh Keng Swee, known as the architect of Singapore's economic development. Goh was also instrumental to the founding of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra to which the Singapore Youth Orchestra was to act as a "feeder".

The authors have not only given an account of this initial period of the Singapore Youth Orchestra (1980-1990) but have also made it a very readable narrative by interspersing quotes from Orchestra members themselves. Their amusing anecdotes of their days in the top ensemble in Singapore, and reflections on how being part of the Youth Orchestra changed their lives, make for engaging reading. The book also contains evocative photos from the 1980s as well as updated photos of these youths, who are now in their 40s and 50s.

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