At the centre is Voice and around it is Joy! Every culture and people across the world find great joy in the making of music!
An Interview with Lily Wong - Educational Psychologist with a Passion for Singing
You’ve heard it before, actively engaging with music has loads of physiological and psychological benefits, a statement backed by multiple research studies. Perhaps the most accessible form of this is singing in a choir. Whether it’s releasing tension through proper breathing exercises after a long day of work, expanding our social network by being in a choir or grasping the notes to a particularly difficult section of music, singing in a choir brings about joy. Every culture and people across the world find great joy in making music. As Plato said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul." Singing helps us connect directly to the fount of JOY that is in the music and gives us that physical and emotional rush. Having sung in a choir since her teenage years, Lily Wong tells us about the music she’s learning and what brings her great joy.
VA: Before we begin, tell us about yourself and what you do! Lily Wong: I am by profession an educational psychologist with a mission and vision to have every woman empowered and independent and able to care and educate children. So joyfully, I set up an institution that is actively developing, offering and preparing early childhood professionals for the early years education sector internationally.
VA: How did you get into a choir? Lily Wong: I find happiness and joy singing to children, teachers and myself. I was always involved in singing, and started singing in a choir in my teens. I took music lessons, played in the school band and took voice lessons. I liked making up songs, some silly and fun, and enjoyed singing them out loud.
I was invited to join the NUSS choir later on, and had great fun making new singing friends. I had the chance to meet Adrian Tan from Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra, who has a mission to bring classical music to the common people. This is something that I strongly believe in as well, and so I joined the choir. This was where I met Ms Khor Ai Ming, the music director for Vocal Associates (VA) and her mission for VA. I joined her choir and have never looked back. A few years passed and now here I am happily singing and learning to be better and improving my memory to ward off dementia.
VA: What is it about being in a choir that brings you joy? Lily Wong: Friendship. Singing in the choir is like having friends and getting in tune to strengthen the friendship. It is a joyous time being together and making beautiful sounds that make those listening to the music happy. In doing so, I feel happy too. I also get to learn new languages when I sing. For the upcoming concert in June, I’m learning to sing in Mandarin and even ancient German which helps keep my mind alert.
VA: What are you learning now, and which is your favourite song? Lily Wong: Even though I have learned What Pattern by Tony Makarome before, it is fun to go over the nonsense words while keeping the right rhythm. Each time I sing it, I try to make it sound interesting by varying my tone of voice. Also, being able to sing this piece with new friends in choir is a real pleasure.