First digital edition of Silver Arts
Seniors can look forward to a total of 15 daily programmes, with a diverse and engaging line-up of activities in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Chinese dialects.
The annual Silver Arts returns for its 9th edition but this time virtually. Presented by the National Arts Council (NAC), Silver Arts is a festival dedicated to celebrating seniors and creative ageing in the arts with opportunities for participants to discover their potential through programmes across various genres such as visual arts, music, dance and film.
This year, Silver Arts 2020 will take place across two weeks from September 1 to 13 on the Silver Arts Facebook page. Seniors can look forward to a total of 15 daily programmes, with a diverse and engaging line-up of activities in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Chinese dialects, all of which can be enjoyed from the comfort and safety of one’s home independently and with family members.
“Through our past editions, we have witnessed how people bond over shared arts experiences and we hope the strong interactive and participatory elements of Silver Arts this year will bring comfort and smiles especially in these times when seniors may feel isolated,” said Elaine Ng, Senior Director of Engagement and Participation at NAC.
“Digitalisation offers new possibilities for seniors to enjoy and connect with the arts, their family, and one another even with safe distancing measures in place. This unique situation has also given us a chance to partner senior activity centres and agencies for example, through the PA Active Ageing’s Stay In, Do Something initiative, to extend the reach of our programmes.”
With an understanding of the challenges that seniors may have in accessing online content, plans have been made to ensure greater receptivity of this year’s programmes. Seniors are encouraged to take small steps and have fun with a series of pre-festival activities which will be released from July 25 until end-August. These range from a dedicated one-stop Silver Arts WhatsApp channel to receive programme reminders, exclusive perks and festival giveaways, to participatory activities such as a digital sing-along session with “Let’s Sing-along” (好歌齐欢唱) by TCR Music Station.
Seniors will also get to contribute to this year’s highlight programmes by submitting videos of their dance moves to the tunes of keroncong classic “Stambul Cha Cha”, and selected submissions will be featured in the festival premiere of “Keroncong Asmara” by Wadah Seni Entertainment.
Since 2015, Silver Arts has been engaging senior volunteers for the programmes. This year, 30 senior volunteers will be involved as programme assistants and motivators to guide and teach seniors at senior activity centres through the pre-festival activities on Facebook and Whatsapp. Seniors who do not have smart devices or online access will not be left out from this year’s Festival. For the very first time, NAC will be working with Lions Befrienders to provide access to past Silver Arts concerts in audio format, for their beneficiaries to enjoy on their MP3 players as part of Project Audible Cheer by Dr Skye Yeo.
A senior volunteer, Susan Liew Yin Wan, added, “I have been involved in the Silver Arts festival for three years now, first as a participant, before becoming a volunteer. The interesting programmes keep me coming back year after year. This is my maiden cameo appearance assisting an artist and it is exciting to experience first-hand the filming of a video; what goes on behind-the-scenes is really exhilarating! This fresh experience of going digital with the arts has been fun and I hope to encourage other seniors to be adventurous and open to try new things. We will definitely miss the human interactions at festival programmes but I am grateful to still have this avenue to enjoy the arts together and each other’s company virtually.”
Silver Arts allows for a time of intergenerational bonding and meaningful conversations with friends and family with a plethora of multi-language programmes. This year, four new works have been specially commissioned and adapted into online presentations:
- Reflect on the good old carefree days and listen to catchy Hokkien songs over a cup of kopi with “Old Songs of Redhill Market” (红山脚下的歌谣) by Toy Factory Productions. The Hokkien production explores the sights and sounds of Redhill, bringing its stories and rich heritage to life.
- “Keroncong Asmara” by Wadah Seni Entertainment invites all to sing along to the tunes of delightful keroncong songs, and learn about the history of keroncong together with singers from Peranakan group Gunong Sayang Association.
- With tunes from local dramas and folk songs in different languages, there is something for everyone in “Evergreen Symphonic Jukebox” by the Asian Cultural Symphony Orchestra in a fusion performance of western and ethnic music.
- Catch an engaging tribute to cultural icon Teresa Teng with “A Music Legend of a Billion Applause” (十亿掌声 · 与君同行) by Ding Yi Music Company, as the talented musicians capture the essence of Teng’s vocals on Chinese classical instruments such as the pipa and di zi.
Fans of Silver Arts will be pleased to know that popular highlights from past editions will be making a comeback in this year’s festival, digitally. Seniors and their families can look forward to returning artist-led workshops such as “Foto-Foto Memory Lab: A Writing Workshop for Seniors” by Amanda Lee Koe as she demonstrates poetry writing in 10 steps by looking at old photos with her mother, delightful performances such as “Singing Market” (花啦啦歌舞团) by Asia Musical Productions (Malaysia) and eight all-time favourite Silver Shorts films including the 2018 release of “New Bike” by Kannan Vijayakumar.
In an increasingly digitalised world, one of a key focus for this year’s festival is to engage artists, partners, and senior care practitioners in open conversations on creating accessible digital content. A two-part Arts & Ageing Forum webinar explores the theme of “Engaging Seniors in a Digital Era”, as artists such as Lee Sze-Chin and Lin Shiyun (3Pumpkins) share insights, approaches and considerations of engaging seniors through the arts digitally alongside international speakers from leading arts charities in the UK, Equal Arts and Magic Me.