The Harmonica Afficionados Societyof Singapore invited us to their country for a number of seminars and their annual concert on 8 December 2000, which we excepted as a great honour. The Multicats and myself left Amsterdam on 5 December for a 12 hour flight to our destination, where we were welcomed by the President of the H.A.S. Mr. Boh Teck Keong and Mr. Lim T.S. at Changi Airport at 15:35 on 6 December.
At 19:00 hours, on our first night in Singapore, we were entertained by members of the
``Harmonica Afficionados Society`` with a Dinner at `KPT by the park` enjoying local foods
Since we had a hard night and day behind us, we were taken back to the hotel at a decent time, namely 22:00 hours. These night outings normaly last untill the early hours of the morning, as you will read later on.
The next morning Thursday 7 December we were first taken to the Indian Temple in China
Town, before setting off to the ``Jurong Town Primary School.`` We weren´t aware of what was
awaiting for us there. As soon as we entered the school grounds we were greeted by the sounds
of many harmonicas and some other instruments of the orchestra.
We were first welcomed by the Principal Miss Tay Eng Hiang. She told us that the school has 1100 children, and all of them played the harmonica for six months only. The harmonicas are provided by the school, and so are the other instruments like an upright bass, a drumset and a vibraphone. The best 40 are now playing in the school orchestra, and together these kids made some fine music after only playing for six months. The musical director of the orchestra Mr. Benny Hong had instant control, and got the best out of them.
At the end of their performance they were given the chance to ask us some questions, and soon they were all calling for the Multicats to perform. Their performance was a joy for the kids who would be sharing the same stage with us on 8 December at the D.B.S. Auditorium.
Then they started asking me to perform, so I called for Mr. Tang Yuen Wai, who is the musical adviser at several primary schools in Singapore. He is an excellent chromatic player and with me on chords we played a Waltz Musette and were soon joined by the bass player of the Multicats to make up a trio for the children.
Mr. Tang, me and The Multicats then joined the school orchestra for an extra item ( a Chinese song) which ended our visit to the school.
We were then invited by the Principal of the school, Miss Tay, to have lunch at one of
the finest hotels in Singapore. The lunch was a fantastic happening which we will never
From there we went to visit the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, we were guided by the official Singapore Guide Mr. Tay, also a an excellent conductor of one of the finest Harmonica Orchestras ``Hai Nan Hui Kwan`` in Singapore.
We were taken back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at 18:00 hours in Temple Street, where we enjoyed some of the finest local foods.
Ar 19:30 we were welcomed at the H.A.S. headquarters for a rehearsel for the concert the folowing evening. We rehearsed a chinese melody with the H.A.S. orchestra for the finale of of the concert. The Multicats played a few songs. Then it was time for ``The Novelty Trio`` with me on chords, Vincent Tang on chromatic and Vincent Tan on bass, to get cracking for the concert, followed by some jamming untill 22:00 hours. Again some snacks at one of the roadside reataurants which lasted until 23:30.
The next morning we were free to go as we pleased, we went to Orchard Road for some
shopping, and were expected back at the hotel at 12:30 to go for lunch at Old Market for
some local foods. I can recommend their local foods at any time.
From there we were taken to the DBS Auditorium for the final rehearsels for the concert at 19:30. We were served local take away foods at the Auditorium as there was no time to go for dinner.
The Concert was a tremendous success for all performers, The Multicats stole the show,
and many autographs had to be signed on their photographs.
After the concert at 23:30, we were taken to yet another roadside resataurant where we again had the pleasure of enjoying their local foods, this lasted untill 02:30.
The next morning, Saturday the 9th, we were free to go as we pleased and went to
``Raffles City`` a huge shopping mall. From ther we were taken for lunch at the Marina South,
whe we again enjoyed a tastefull local foods meal. Mr. Tay, the Singapore guide, took us for a
stroll through the Marina-Merlion Quay and a boat trip on the Singapore River.
At 15:30 we had a meeting at the H.A.S headquarters about the ``I.H.O.`` -``A.S.I.A.N.`` and Hering Harmonicas in South East Asia. Present were, besides myself, Mr Boh and Patrick Tan from Singapore, Mr. Loke Chee Tion and his four companions from Malaysia and Rocky Lok from Hong Kong.
At 18:00 hours it was time again for dinner, this time we went to Beach Road for chicken rice.
At 19:30 that evening, I performed a seminar with The Multicats. The place was packed to capacity and everyone enjoyed the explenation about the different instruments used by The Multicats. After each instrument had been explained The Multicats performed a song in which that particular instrument played a major role.
At 22:30 we left yet for another snack at Tea Talek, we arrived back at the hotel at 24:00 hours.
On Sunday morning the 10th , we took a complete rest, and this gave me the chance to spent some
time with my son and his family, since it was his wife´s birthday on the 8th, and me not
having had much time to spend with my 9 month old grand-daughter because of the busy Itinery.
At noon we were taken to a Malay-Indian restaurant for lunch, from where we were taken to Sentosa Island, a tourist resort.
We were supposed to go by cable car, but since one, I want name him, has acrophobia (fear of heights), and since I had been to Sentosa that way before, I accompanied him by boat. The visit took into the dark where we had the pleasure to listen to the Musical Fountain, and watched the light show accompanying the music.
We all returned by boat at 20:00 hours and had dinner at a most fantastic seafood restaurant. This lasted untill 23:00 hours when we were taken back to the hotel.
On the Monday morning we did some shopping in China Town, and after were taken to the Merichi Reservoir for lunch at a Thai restaurant. A very memoriable lunch, we were entertained at our tables by one of the best illusionists in the region, a special performance just for us. At 18:00 hours it was time for dinner again and in between we visited one of the many Chinese Temples in Singapore. At 19:30 we were expected at the H.A.S. headquarters for another seminar. This time a more in-depth workshop about the bass and chord harmonicas, as we use them in the West. It was well received and many had learned quite a bit, so they said. at 22:00 hours it was time again for a snack at a roadside restaurant. Back to the hotel at 23:30. for a well deserved rest.
Tuesday 12 December was our departure day, but since we were only due at Changi Airport
at 21:30, they had quite a few things in stall for us. At 10:30 we were taken to the Singapore
Botanic Gardens where we enjoyed the wonderfull Orchid Garden in pouring rain. We were soaked
to the skin, but at 30° celcius it doesn´t take long to dry up after the rain stops. A highlighted
experience for all of us, believe me.
At 12:30 it was time again for another lunch and taken back to the hotel to get dressed for our departure.
Before being taken to the Airport, we were taken to ``Fisherman´s Village`` for a magnificent dinner on the beach under the coconut palm trees. The food was delicious while the sun was setting. We couldn´t have wished for a better farewell.
At the airport we were surprised by Mr. Tay, who was flying to Korea with his Harmonica Orchestra for some concerts. Mrs. Boh presented us with a farewell present, a lovely original Chinese teapot.
It was a tear-running farewell, I can tell you. The President of the ``Harmonica Afficionados Society`` of Singapore, his wife and all the members, have made us feel so welcome and turned us all into ``Friends for Life``.
Rest me to say; Thank you very much for the wonderfull time we had in your lovely and friendly country. Next year June 2001 I will be back to join Vincent Tang on lead and Vincent Tan on bass to perform at the H.A.S. mid-year concert.
Recorded: Singapore 2000.
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Art Daane, The Multicats and Gonnie
31 December, 2000
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