The ACJC Choir
The ACJC Choir has been an integral part of the College’s choral tradition since 1977 when it was first started. In 1988, the Choir had the honour of being selected for the Singapore Ministry of Education’s Choral Excellence Programme, which offered the Choir a structure of specialised training in choral singing. The result is an impressive list of achievements, both locally and internationally.
In Singapore, the ACJC Choir is the six-time winner of the “Choir of the Year” and “Best Junior College Choir” awards between 1989 and 2003, where these titles were then presented as part of the biennial Singapore Youth Festival Choral Competition. The Choir also had the honour of performing before distinguished audiences at important diplomatic and national events such as the South East Asian Ministers of Education Council Conference, the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation Education Ministerial Meeting and the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management Conference.
As part of the local training programme, the ACJC Choir also embarked on several choral tours to countries around the world, where it aims to expose the choristers to international standards of choral music, and to bring the music from Singapore and Asia to beyond the region. The Choir’s first choral tour was to Japan in 1989. Following that, the choir toured South Korea (1990) and the USA (1993) where it had the privilege of performing at the United Nations and in the Carnegie Hall.
During its fifth choral tour to Europe in 1995, the Choir competed in the Tampereen-Savel Tampere International Choir Festival, Finland, where it was awarded a Gold Stamp in the Open Chorus Category.
In 1996, the ACJC Choir was selected by the International Federation of Choral Music to represent Singapore as one of the 26 Invited Choirs at 4th World Symposium on Choral Music, Sydney, Australia. The Choir gave concerts at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Town Hall where the choristers were greatly moved by the warm responses of the audiences. In the following year, the Choir competed at the 5th Oskarshamn International Choir Festival, Sweden and emerged winners of both the Open and Youth Categories.
The tour in 1999 saw the Choir participating in the Tampereen-Savel Tampere International Choir Festival again, and this time, winning the top award – the Grand Prix – as well as the Triple Gold Stamp.
In 2001, the choir gave its debut performance to a London audience at the St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church. The Choir then participated in the Arnhem International Choir Festival in the Netherlands, where it clinched the top awards in both the Youth and School Choir categories.
After returning to London to give a concert in 2005, the Choir then proceeded to the Czech Republic where it competed in the 33rd Festival of Music in Olomouc. Here, the Choir emerged winners in the Mixed Choir (up to 25 years old) and the Folk Song Categories with a rare perfect score in the latter.
In July 2006, the Choir participated in the 60th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Wales and made festival history as the first Asian choir to win the Mixed Choir title, competing alongside choral groups from South Africa, Finland, Estonia, USA, England and Wales. This win also qualified the Choir to be a finalist in the “Choir of the World” competition that concluded the festival – a first for any Singapore choir.
2008 was a momentous year as the ACJC Choir celebrated its 20th Anniversary of Founding. The season began with a choral tour to Bratislava, Slovakia where the choir won gold medals in the Youth, Mixed and Folk categories at the 3rd Festa Choralis International Choral Competition. Following which, a very special Thanksgiving Service at the ACJC Faith Centre for Performing Arts brought together staff, family and alumni from previous batches to honour the good Lord for His goodness and blessings upon the choir over the years. The series of celebration culminated with a Gala Concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall where His Excellency, President S.R. Nathan was Guest-of-Honour.
In June 2010, the ACJC Choir embarked on a very successful Europe Choral Tour to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. The Choir had the privilege of making its debut in Russia by performing with the Ensemble Zlovast at the Moscow Museum Gallery. ACJC Choir also had the opportunity to work with learn from the Cinema and Television University Choir, St. Petersburg, and the ‘CHALMERS SÅNGKÖR Göteborg’ Choir from Sweden. The choir also represented Singapore at the 4th World Choir Festival, Grand Prix St. Petersburg where it performed at the Festival Opening Concert in Capella Concert Hall and clinching Gold medals with top marks in the Youth, Mixed and Folk Choir categories.
2011 was a milestone for the family of Anglo-Chinese Schools as it celebrated the 125th year of founding. To commemorate the occasion, the ACJC and Alumni Choirs hosted and performed with the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, led by renowned New Zealand conductor, Professor Karen Grylls, at the annual “An Evening with Friends” Concert. In June the same year, the ACJC Alumni Choir embarked on its inaugural Europe Choral Tour to London and Finland as a Chamber Ensemble. The Alumni Choir gave its debut concert in London at St. Paul’s Church and competed as the only Asian choir, at the Tampere Music Festival “Tampere Savel” Choral Review, clinching the coveted 2 Gold-Stamp award.
In 2012, the choir toured Poland and Austria and competed alongside choirs from Estonia, Norway, United Kingdom and Poland at the 3rd International Krakow Choir Festival “Cracovia Cantans” , clinching first placing in both the Youth and Folk Choir Categories. Even more enriching were the many opportunities for the choir to perform for the European audience in the St. Catherine Church, the Peter and Paul Cathedral and exclusive opportunity to sing in the underground chapel of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow. The ACJC Choir was also invited by the organisers to be the ensemble to conclude the Festival Gala Finale in the Krakow Philharmonic Concert Hall. While in Austria, the choir also had the privilege of an enriching choral master-class with the Grammy award-winning conductor Professor Erwin Ortner, the artistic director of the renowned Arnold Schoenberg Choir.
2013 was another memorable milestone as the ACJC Choir celebrated its 25th Anniversary as an MOE Choral Excellence Choir. The year witnessed an exciting calendar of commemorative activities with a Gala Concert at the Esplanade Concert Hall, bringing together choristers on and off-stage in an unforgettable reunion. The ACJC Alumni Choir then embarked on its first Concert Tour to London, Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The Jubilee Year culminated with the Alumni Choir giving its annual Advent Christmas Concert to a capacity crowd at the SOTA Concert Hall and the College Choir herald the yuletide season with caroling performances at various CBD venues and the Esplanade Concourse.
The ACJC Choir remains committed to its tradition of choral excellence and endeavours to serve as Singapore’s choral ambassador to the world as it forges close ties with the international choral community.