Member - Choral Directors' Association (Singapore)
Benedict is an experienced conductor, accompanist, singer, composer and arranger, who has worked with children, youth and adult choirs across Singapore since 2003. Benedict has an FLCM in Conducting, an LTCL in Piano Performance and also a Distinction in Grade 8 Singing. He was conductor of the chamber choir in Singapore Raffles Music College from 2010-2011 and assistant conductor of the NUS choir from 2011-2012. He has also been selected by the Ministry of Education as choral director of the Music Talent Development Centre’s (MTDC) Primary School Division Choir from 2010-2014. He was also the section tutor and accompanist of the MTDC Secondary Division Choir. Benedict is currently the choral director of 4 primary schools, 1 secondary school, Nanyang Polytechnic Voice Ensemble and the vocal coach of Serangoon Garden Secondary School choir.
The opportunity of working with a wide spectrum of children, youth and adult choirs, ranging from the neighbourhood schools to the top schools in Singapore, has given Benedict a wealth of pedagogical and directorial experience. The extensive knowledge through years of teaching, combined with a keen ear for harmony and balance as a result of his pianistic training, in addition to his exceptional ability to train the voice has proven to be the right ingredients for the success of his choral education. This well-roundedness in all 3 fields – conducting piano and voice training has helped Benedict in garnering outstanding results over the last 10 years in the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) Central Judging of Choirs. In 2014, Benedict was able to turn the Ai Tong School Choir around and achieve a distinction in a short span of 3 months’ time. On top of that, all of his 4 primary schools garnered a distinction in the SYF Arts Presentation of Choirs. Under his baton, the RGPS choir garnered a Gold award and category champion in Jubilate VI Festival of Choirs 2012. He has also recently brought RGPS Choir to Asia Cantate 2014 in Hong Kong and garnered a Gold Diploma as well as Children’s Choir category champion which qualified them as one of the grand finalists of the festival. In the same year, the Clementi Town secondary school choir also clinched a gold award from the Jubilate VII Festival of Choirs in Melaka.
Benedict’s training as an English Language and English Literature major in NUS has yielded excellent communication and writing skills. With a particular fondness for phonetics and phonology, Benedict has chosen to do his honours thesis on the phonology of scat singing, combining his two passions – language and music. His strong foundation in linguistics was crucial to the effective teaching of songs in foreign languages. To date, Benedict’s choirs have sung in French, German, Italian, Latin, Hungarian, Japanese, Tagalog, Thai, Korean, Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese. His training in English literature and understanding of poetry allowed him deeper insights into texts and he was better able to interpret the music and bring it to life.
Besides conducting choirs, Benedict has also been an active a cappella singer and performer. He was a member of Singapore’s premier jazz a cappella group – Key Elements from 2002-2012 and he has taken on various roles such as the lead vocalist, vocal percussionist, arranger and coordinator of the group. His years of a cappella singing made him a seasoned performer. Just recently, Benedict was contracted to record and film with an all-male acappella group – Unclepella for AXA’s Daddy Rescue radio challenge and TV commercial.
Benedict is also an accomplished arranger of choral and a cappella music. His arrangements of 2 Christmas carols: Jingle Bell Rock and White Christmas were featured in Mistletoe, a local compilation album of A Cappella music for Christmas, released in 2001. He was commissioned by Mayflower Secondary School to arrange choral and instrumental music for the opening of its new campus in November 2004. In 2012, Benedict was commissioned to arrange 3 songs for Singapore Press Holdings Chinese Choir’s 25th Anniversary Concert -《我们的歌在这里》, a concert featuring all 80s-90s local Chinese compositions or 新谣 (Xinyao) at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Most recently, Benedict’s choral arrangements of “Home” and“天冷就回来”as well as his original composition of “三字经” have been featured in the celebrated inaugural Singapore Choral Festival – 50 Songs for Singapore. He has also previously arranged for a cappella groups such as Impromptu and Key Elements and his arrangements have been recorded in several albums such as the 2007 Jazz for the Record, and 《天的上面海的外面》in 2010.
As a teacher, Benedict is well liked by his students. As a professional he is respected by his colleagues and works well with those around him. As a musician he constantly seeks to improve himself by attending workshops and masterclasses every year and he is currently taking lesson from Maestro Wu Jie, renowned opera singer and Vice-president of the Musicians Society of Singapore. As an educator he firmly believes that he also needs to be a practitioner and therefore sings and performs regularly with The Vocal Consort under the expert tutelage of the distinguished Professor Nelson Kwei. Benedict believes that learning is an endeavour of a lifetime. Not only does he wish to share his passion for music, Benedict would also like to inculcate the spirit of lifelong learning in his students.
School Choirs that are currently under Benedict’s leadership
Admiralty Primary School
Ai Tong School
Canberra Primary School
Raffles Girls’ Primary School
Clementi Town Secondary School
Nanyang Polytechnic Voice Ensemble