SINGAPORE, November 10: Extra•Ordinary People presented An Extra•Ordinary Celebration at the Resorts World™Theatre – a first-of-its-kind effort to celebrate inclusivity and appreciate parents and educators in the special needs community with the support of official venue partner Resorts World Sentosa. Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress was the Guest of Honour.
The event was Singapore’s largest inclusive concert, featuring more than 500 differently-abled performers, made up of 15 inclusive teams of students from Special Education (SPED) schools partnering with mainstream schools or organisations. A robust 90-minute stage programme of varying art forms such as aikido, circus arts, Latin dance and hand chimes was showcased.
As the event name suggests, An Extra•Ordinary Celebration was a true celebration of inclusivity, with the performers sitting among the 1,400-strong audience, enjoying the concert alongside parents, educators and invited guests. It was the culmination of more than three months of rehearsals, with various schools and groups coming together to co-create their performance items.
The process provided opportunities for partnering teams to interact and get to know one another, contributing to the shaping of an inclusive attitude.
“What resources cannot buy is what I see tonight and why I am so proud. Principals put in the extra bit of effort, our students put in the care and love to partner and bring society together. When Singapore wants an inclusive society, we don’t just talk about it. This is our values in action. For the special group of people, like Extra•OrdinaryPeople and the volunteers that are here working in the background and backstage, let me thank you personally for the heart of love.” said Minister Ng.
“Extra•Ordinary People exists to serve the special needs community and build an inclusive society, while supporting parents in their child’s learning and developmental journey. We believe that every individual has talents and are proud to have been able to showcase the different abilities of so many performers in the first edition of An Extra•Ordinary Celebration,” said Ms Wee Wei Ling, Director and Co-Founder of Extra•Ordinary People.
Established in July 2017, Extra•Ordinary People is a charity with Institution of Public Character status that aims to support every person with special needs in Singapore through community-supported initiatives. It will officially open its second centre, Extra•Ordinary Place @ Joo Chiat, on 18 November 2018, providing multi-disciplinary therapy services and performing arts classes for children with special needs.
Leading by example, Ms Wee initiated the stage programme in a unique collaboration with a 92-member inclusive hand chimes orchestra. Performing Dick Lee’s composition Bunga Sayang, she was accompanied by Singapore Special Voices and joined by desk bells, hand chimes and handbells ringers from the Ministry of Bellz, Rainbow Centre Margaret Drive School, Grace Orchard School and Raffles’ Girls School, as well as the Show Band from the Ministry of Bellz and solo vibraphonist, Ms Lily Goh.
As the concert progressed through the evening, there was never a dull moment with the exciting line-up of performance items, which segued seamlessly from singalong tunes to lively dance and circus arts routines.
Made up of educators, parents and the performers themselves, the audience fully participated and immersed themselves in the celebratory spirit.
Minister Ng joined the performers on stage for a finale item – a special rendition of the Circle of Life from the soundtrack of the famous American animated musical film “The Lion King”.
“An Extra•Ordinary Celebration provides a valuable platform for both the organisations and participants involved to collaborate towards a common goal of inclusion in our society. Through the process, participants learn to appreciate their differences, supporting each other and forming meaningful friendships,” said Ms Joyce Lin, Teacher, APSN Katong School.
“When we were told that we would be collaborating with St Andrew’s Autism School, I was slightly apprehensive. However, during practices, I made use of the opportunity to not only talk to them but play simple games such a sscissors-paper-stone and they seemed to enjoy it very much! This experience has opened my mind and heart. I’ve learnt that not everyone is the same and we can all learn and benefit from each other’s perspectives,” said Gabriella Roselyn, Secondary 2, Boon Lay Secondary School.
“The first time I danced, I felt nervous and anxious because I did not know how it would be like to dance with an advanced group. But I slowly built up confidence through dancing together as a team, like an army, and I really enjoyed it,” said Ayman Nur Shan Bin Affendey, Student, APSN Tanglin School.
Extra·Ordinary People is a charity with Institution of Public Character status that aims to support every person with special needs in Singapore through community-supported initiatives.
Extra·Ordinary People strives for an inclusive society and embraces a child-centred approach in supporting parents and their children’s learning and developmental journey.
It currently operates two centres providing multi-disciplinary therapy services and performing arts classes for children with special needs.
For more information, please visit:http://extraordinarypeople.sg
Extra•Ordinary People is located at:
Extra·Ordinary Place @ Beach Road7500A Beach Road, #01-313/317/318 The Plaza Block A, Singapore 199591
Extra·Ordinary Place @ Joo Chiat402 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 428082