The Vocal Consort Chamber Singers at the Tokyo International Choir Competition (Image by The Vocal Consort)

The world of choir might be a mystery to many of us but do you remember that episode in Glee when the McKinley High glee club, New Directions made it to the National level choir competition?

It turns out that international choir competitions are a major thing in reality and that Singapore is home to a champion choir group.

The Vocal Consort Chamber Singers of Singapore was the only Singapore choir to compete in the prestigious 1st Tokyo International Choir Competition (TICC), winning the title of Category Champion for Contemporary Music, 2 Gold Diplomas, and Special Award for one of their performance pieces.

The international event held from 27th to 29th July this year in Tokyo, Japan, was spearheaded by world-renowned choral composer Ko Matushita. A total of 137 entries were submitted for the qualifying rounds, of which 50 were non-Japanese and 87 were Japanese choirs.

The Vocal Consort Chamber Singers is a subdivision of The Vocal Consort which consists of 23 members and their conductor, Mr Foong Hak Luen. They were one of two Singaporean choirs that submitted an entry in the qualifying round and the only Singaporean choir that made it through to the finals.

For the final round, The Vocal Consort Chamber Singers successfully competed in the two most competitive categories: Contemporary Music and Chamber Choir. The Chamber Choir category was incredibly popular and saw the most qualifying entries—an astounding 48 choirs.

The Contemporary Music category followed closely behind and was the second most popular category, with a total of 46 entries. Only 10 choirs were shortlisted to the Final Round for both categories. Some of the other notable competing choirs included Diocesan Choral Society from Hong Kong (the 32nd ranked choir in the entire world according to INTERKULTUR), Wah Yan College Kowloon Boys’ Choir from Hong Kong, University of Mindanao Chorale from Philippines and Mulberry Choir from Japan.

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