An Evening with Friends 2021
For the last 33 years, The Anglo-Chinese Junior College Combined Choirs have put on the annual An Evening with Friends concert in May. The performance has come to be a rite of passage for the College Choir, and continues to be a mainstay in the Alumni Choir’s calendar–nothing a global pandemic can get in the way of.
While we have found ourselves unable to sing live in the Esplanade Concert Hall for the second time this year, the choir is pleased, nonetheless, to share a virtual presentation of An Evening with Friends 2021, comprising a collection of digital releases.
In groups of five or less, and in accordance with the Safe Management Measures for the Arts and Culture Sector at the time*, the College Choir and Alumni Choir have recorded three pieces, two of which are special commissions premiering at this year’s virtual concert. Befitting of the times, the songs released over the weekend of 4-6 June centre around our prayers for Love, Peace and Hope:
UBI CARITAS, Ola Gjeilo
Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur
Timeamus, et amemus Deum vivum
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero
Where charity and love are, God is there
The love of Christ has gathered us together
Let us rejoice and be glad in it
Let us revere and love the living God
And from a sincere heart let us love one another
The Anglo-Chinese Junior College Choir presents Ola Gjeilo’s Ubi Caritas, which features a modern yet medieval soundscape as it draws inspiration from the Gregorian chant tradition. Complementing luscious harmonies and delayed harmonic resolutions, the text is borrowed from an eighth-century hymn of the same title, telling of the love of Christ that also encourages sincere love for one another.
PEACE, Lenny Wee
Peace for the weary and the lost
Peace that surpasses understanding
Peace for the worried and the hurting
Peace that is found at the Cross
May the Lord of Peace give you peace
For all times; In all ways
Peace that is found in Christ
The Anglo-Chinese Junior College Combined Choirs present the world premiere of Peace – composed specially by Leonard Wee (ACJC Choir, Class of 2002) for the occasion. With lyrics adapted from the biblical prayers and blessings in John 14:27, Philippians 4:7 and 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the piece begins melodiously with vibrant jazzy harmonies, bringing to life both joy and tension with alternating consonances and dissonances.
To accompany this world premiere, a hand-drawn animation by Teo Hsin Wei (ACJC Choir, Class of 2012) and Dora Aik depicts a pilgrimage across the landscape of life in search of elusive peace, only to arrive, as the song reaches its final resolution, at true comfort at the foot of the cross.
IAM SOL RECEDIT, Ola Gjeilo
Iam sol recedit igneus:
Tu lux perennis Unitas.
Patri, simulque Filio,
tibique sancte Spiritus,
sicut fuit, sit iugiter
saeclum per omne gloria.
Te mane laudum carmine,
Te deprecamur vespere.
As fades the glowing orb of day,
to Thee, great source of light, we pray.
To God the Father, and the Son,
and Holy Spirit, Three in One,
be endless glory, as before
the world began, so evermore.
At early dawn, at close of day,
to Thee our vows we humbly pay.
The Anglo-Chinese Junior College Alumni Choir presents Iam Sol Recedit – the final installation in our two-part collaboration with Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. Like Lux Beata Trinitas which the choir premiered in December 2020, our newest commission is a hopeful tribute to the “great Source of light,” throughout and despite the fading of earthly light.
Composed simply and homophonically, the piece is at once atmospheric—with a lulling melody, written in a lively odd metre, passing between the voices—and brilliant, as the oboe (Seow Yibin) soars gracefully above accompanying vocals and piano (Ola Gjeilo). Complementing the musical tone, the text, borrowed from the fourth-century hymn O Lux Beata Trinitas, speaks of the eternal Light and ends with a fitting dedication to the Blessed Trinity.
Iam Sol Recedit was commissioned by The Anglo-Chinese Junior College Alumni Choir with the generous support of Mr Desmond Lim.
All proceeds from An Evening with Friends 2021 go to the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home to fund the educational and developmental needs of the boys and girls in Residential Care. If you would like to make a donation, please click here.
*Recordings were made from 11 April to 9 May 2021.