I have the good fortune of conducting the Methodist Girls School (Secondary) choir, arguably one of the finest Singaporean school choirs with very high-achieving students. We have tons of fun playing music games, learning how to read music and singing everything ranging from Renaissance masters, crazy avant garde choral works to pop and jazz. As part of our training programme, we have intensive, annual “choir boot camps” where they learn via masterclass formats, various interest topics.

One of the things they get to experience in their 4 years of choral training, is a chance to compose and create new music material via improvisation exercises. After providing them with some tools, the various groups were each given 30 minutes to come up with a new song/arrangement. From this little composition exercise came preliminary ideas for H.A.P.P.Y. I was quite amused by some of the ideas and texts they came up with and decided to further develop these, making multiple changes and rearrangements to make it work on the concert stage.

H.A.P.P.Y is a gift to the choir girls for being an inspiration to work with, a tribute to the joyful sessions we have and a token of thanks to the school for having faith and hiring this young musician when he was taking his baby steps in conducting.

Albert Tay
1 December 2018