The borderless power of music recently served as a bridge bringing together the kind -hearted people of Singapore with the underprivileged Vietnamese children in Gentle Fund Organization’s fourth annual concert, The Next Page. Registered three years ago as the first and only Vietnamese non-profit Organization in Singapore, Gentle Fund Organization has continued to grow their pool of talented artists, both Vietnamese and Foreign. The reputation of the previous concerts ensured a sold-out show of over six hundred enthusiastic concert attendees in the Auditorium located in the heart of the financial district of Singapore.
Music that came straight from the Heart
GFO began with music and chose to mark their Third Anniversary with Music. Opening the concert was Phuong Tam who transformed the venue into one of the most familiar scenes for Vietnamese people – the West Lake of Ha Noi – through the song “Nho Mua Thu Ha Noi” – Ha Noi Fall! I Miss You. Tam, one of the Founder members of GFO, has a wonderful voice that touched people’s hearts deeply.
It was heart-warming to witness the love and passion of the singers and the enjoyment of the audience.
From Sri Lanka, a young man by the name of Surath rocked up the stage with the lively song – Summer of 69. Joining forces to bring back the fun of the 50s and 60s came TWO impersonators of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Elvis Presley. Reto and Brian, both Singaporeans and both lovers of Elvis – performed a medley that soon turned into a Battle of the Elvis, which had the audience clapping and cheering enthusiastically. They were followed by the dynamic and emotive Gimz who captured many people’s hearts with his version of the Circle of Life. The performances simply built in intensity and the auditorium erupted with the performance of Eli – If Everyone Cared and Ainul with Listen and No Boundaries, that carried strong messages about the love of nature and the love of human beings.
Mai Trang, Head of Program and Talent Manager of The Next Page Concert, shared that all the artists are either professionals or semi-professionals, who have strong interest in singing and performing. Some came to GFO on their own, some came through the introduction of GFO friends and supporters, but they all had one thing in common – their love of music and their dedication to the children that are helped by GFO.
Behind the concert was another person whose efforts were largely recognized by his amazing sense of Music, Dat Hanh. Although only in his early 20s, Dat Hanh is no youngster to Music. With a strong crowd of diverse nationalities, the Music Director of The Next Page concert did not fail to impress. Never-ending applause and the feedback and comments after the show showed the enthusiasm of the audience.
Turning The Next Page
Throughout the past three years, GFO, together with the commitment and unwavering help from Supporters and Donors, have walked a long journey with many achievements. More than one hundred Vietnamese Patients who came to Singapore for treatment have benefited from GFO’s Patient Support Services. The Project – Be a Guardian (BAG) has provided more than 200 underprivileged Vietnamese children with a monthly scholarship of VND$400,000 to sustain their education path. The opening of two Learning Centers in Vietnam, one in Long Hoa – Ho Chi Minh City and another one in Dieu Vien – Hue, are two more significant milestones in GFO’s progress. Each Learning Center is equipped with a Library full of books, a Computer Lab and classrooms that provide free English lessons. These two Learning Centers have contributed greatly to ease the shortage of educational facilities in the area and fulfilled the children’s desire for a better education.
“The operating expenses per year of each Learning Center is SGD$30,000 or VND$340 million” said Mr Nguyen Dac Thang, Chairman of GFO. The profit of more than SGD$40,000 generated from The Next Page Concert will be channeled directly to the operating expenses of the two Learning Centers in Vietnam.
Moving forward, GFO is working closely with some of the Vocational Schools in Vietnam to develop a Learning Program that would benefit the children in the Long Hoa and Dieu Vien Learning Centers. The Program that is planned to kick-start in 2010, will prepare the underprivileged children for their future career with specified skills obtained from one of the Vocational Schools. Turning “The Next Page” that marked the three-year journey of GFO, Mr Thang shared his direction and the hope for a better future for the Vietnamese underprivileged children – a future where every child has the opportunity to obtain a proper education, a steady career and an independent life.
We are all grateful to the organizers, the performers, and the audience of The Next Page – and their love for the children of Vietnam.
Translated by Thiên Vũ
Source: Gentle Fund Organization