4-part mini documentary about the making of a Chinese orchestra performance

SMU Chinese Orchestra presents a 4-part short documentary series on the making-of a performance during COVID-19. The music-making journey has changed for Chinese Orchestra musicians, especially so for a Deaf percussionist, a blind guitarist, and a physically challenged dizi player. The series aims to show how music can unite and empower people to overcome challenges in the face of a new norm.  This programme is a proud recipient of Central Singapore CDC’s Do-Good Grant @ Singapore Management University. 

Play Video
Episode 1: "To the Same Beat"

Singapore has just entered Phase 2 of its reopening during COVID-19. Experienced percussionists, Jian Wen and Lily, meet to rehearse for an upcoming performance with SMU Chinese Orchestra. Jian Wen, who is from SMU, is struck by Lily’s perseverance and ability to play multiple percussion instruments despite her being Deaf. This episode showcases the HAPI drum, a less common percussion instrument, performed by Lily. It ends with a performance of the piece 月光下的凤尾竹 (trans. Bamboo Under The Moonlight) by SMU Chinese Orchestra's ensemble and Lily. 

Episode 2: "Strings Together"

Zi An, a cellist from SMU, meets up with Ivni, for the first time since Circuit Breaker, to rehearse for their part of the combined performance with SMU Chinese Orchestra. This episode sheds light on challenges faced by Ivni, who is visually impaired, and how he works creatively with Zi An to perform even without seeing the conductor’s cues. The episode showcases the piece, What am I, from Why Don’t We, now performed by SMU Chinese Orchestra’s ensemble, with Ivni’s guitar accompaniment. 

Episode 3: "Out of the Woods"

Working within safe distancing guidelines, dizi players, Xiangle and Kok Wee meet to rehearse their part, in preparation of the upcoming performance with the rest of SMU Chinese Orchestra. This episode sheds light on difficulties Kok Wee face as a physically challenged musician, and how he overcomes it with his own resourcefulness, and Xiangle’s encouragement. It concludes with a performance of the piece, Always With Me, from the OST of Spirited Away, by SMU Chinese Orchestra’s ensemble and Kok Wee. 

Episode 4: "Together Apart"

Music is the common language that unites musicians to create something bigger than themselves. As the various ensembles within SMU Chinese Orchestra come together as one, see how they worked around challenges imposed during COVID-19, and rise above them to perform the piece, a medley of 2 popular local compositions, 小人物的心声 (trans. Voices From the People’s Heart) and Together, We Can


SMU Chinese Orchestra

Since its inception in 2009, SMU Chinese Orchestra (SMUCO) strives to be a unique orchestra of excellence under the baton of Mr Quek Ling Kiong. The orchestra distinguishes itself through various cross-disciplinary works and creative programming. Other than its annual production, SMUCO has been actively involved in The Purple Symphony (TPS), Singapore’s largest inclusive orchestra. 

About the Documentary Director


Quek Ling Kiong graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Zurich University of the Arts. Currently, he is the Music Director/Conductor of SMUCO, Resident Conductor of Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Music Director of Singapore National Youth Chinese Orchestra, Principal Conductor of Ding Yi Music Company. He is the Artistic Director of The Purple Symphony (Singapore) and True Colours Symphony (Hong Kong), both orchestras inclusive for musicians with special needs. His accolades include the Young Artist Award by National Arts Council, Cultural Fellowship, and Meritorious Award by COMPASS.  

About the Documentary Director


Daniel Yam is an award winning filmmaker who loves to take his audience on a journey to discover the beauty of humanity. His film, Gift and Ripple about compassion and kindness has won Best Web Short Film and JudgeAd in 2010 and 2012. His other short films HDB’ Promise and feature film - Wonder Boy has captured Singaporeans’ hopes and dreams. Daniel’s work have been seen by more than 500 million viewers worldwide. 


Heng Xiangle

Heng Xiangle
Heng Xiangle studied conducting under Quek Ling Kiong and attended masterclasses with luminaries such as Tsung Yeh and Yan Hui Chang. Xiangle is now the Resident Conductor of Dicapella, Assistant Conductor of SMUCO, and co-founder of Ding Yi Music Company Ltd. He has led many of these orchestras to perform and complete locally and overseas, and has worked with the National Arts Council on numerous projects such as An Enchanted Evening with Silver Gems as Artistic Director and Assistant Conductor.

Ng Kok Wee

Ng Kok Wee
Ng Kok Wee has a passion for music and first picked up the dizi in secondary 1 with his school’s Chinese orchestra. To date, he has played the dizi for more than 30 years, and is a skilled dizi and sheng instructor. Despite his mobility condition, Kok Wee’s cheerful disposition and passion for music keeps him going. As one of the recipients of The Purple Symphony Training Award Programme, Kok Wee now receives formal music training to further hone his skills.

Choi Zi An

Choi Zi An
Choi Zi An is a year 2 Business student in SMU. He is a current student executive committee member of SMUCO, and is instrumental in organising many of SMUCO’s events and performances. Zi An picked up the cello when he was in secondary 1 and has stayed within the Chinese orchestra art form since then. He is deeply passionate about Chinese orchestra music and hopes he can continue performing even after graduation.

Ivni Bin Yaakub

Ivni Bin Yaakub
Ivni Bin Yaakub is an avid guitarist and has performed in many events, such as street busking, ballroom functions, and concerts. Despite being visually impaired, Ivni taught himself to play guitar since 1996, and has picked up drums since 2012, achieving Grade 5 certification from Trinity College of London. His largest performance to date is the concert series, My Love is Blind in 2016 and 2017. He intends to continue his passion in music through lifelong learning and performances.

Chong Jian Wen

Chong Jian Wen
Chong Jian Wen is a SMU Year 3 Business Student and has been in the music field for 13 years as a percussionist. He is both a member of SMU Symphonia and SMUCO, and this experience has allowed him to master a wide range of percussion instruments. In 2019, he was awarded the SMU’s University Student Life Bronze Award for his outstanding performance as a student leader and member of these 2 clubs and the SMU Arts and Cultural Fraternity.

Lily Goh

Lily Goh
Lily Goh is the founder of ExtraOrdinary Horizons, a social enterprise that aims to raise Deaf awareness, education and empowerment through courses, workshops, seminars, talks, and performances. She has been a member of The Purple Symphony since 2016 and has obtained a Grade 8 in Percussion with Merit, a Grade 5 in Music Theory with Distinction, and a Grade 5 in Piano.



Chong Jian Wen (Episode 1 Main Cast)
Lily Goh (Episode 1 Main Cast)
Choi Zi An (Episode 2 Main Cast)
Ivni Bin Yaacub (Episode 2 Main Cast)
Heng Xiang Le (Episode 3 Main Cast)
Ng Kok Wee (Episode 3 Main Cast)
Chew Li Xian
Choo Wei Kang
Chua Yu Ying, Didi
Ethan Tan Hym
Jonathon Khoo Kay Chin
Megan Chong Wen Xi
Neo Yong Soon Wilson
Ng Rui Jun
Ng Shu Qi
Ong Hong Yang
Sim Liat Kiat Eddie
Sherman Lee Le Xuan
Sunaga Shion
Teiw Hsien Hean
Yang Wei Tao

Creative Team

Music Director: Quek Ling Kiong
Documentary Director: Daniel Yam

Production Team

Producer: Janice Low
Tech Producer: Gloria Chee
Filming Team: Stories Worth Telling
Sound Team: Rolton Productions

With support from

Central Singapore CDC


Give Now

A-PART Supports The SMU Resilience Fund

All donations collected from the Festival will go towards providing bursaries at SMU to assist students impacted by COVID-19.