Over 10,000 people, many with picnic baskets and mats, converged at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on July 11 — just days after it was named a Unesco World Heritage Site — for an evening concert to mark the 170th anniversary of The Straits Times (ST).
Concert-goers were thrilled when a squadron of 20 fighter jets flew past as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (SSO) played songs from the movie Ben Hur, bringing the hour-long concert to a climatic close.
The hour-long SSO performance, held at the Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage in the Singapore Botanic Gardens' Palm Valley, was part of a series of events to mark ST's birthday on July 15, under the Gift of Music series sponsored by Singapore Press Holdings.
The concert coincided with a preview of the upcoming National Day Parade, which marks Singapore’s 50th year of Independence, at the Padang.
Patriotism was in the air at the concert grounds, with the crowd greeting the jet formation with cheers. A surprise encore of Stand Up For Singapore was met with the same enthusiasm.
Signature anniversary picnic mats and balloons handed out during the event added to the revelry.
ST editor Warren Fernandez said: “It’s wonderful to see so many happy faces, enjoying the music and this beautiful park after the news that it is now a World Heritage Site. Even our friends from the RSAF seemed to want to join the party.”
The July 11 event was part of a year-long series of treats for ST readers. On July 17, a free multimedia exhibition titled Singapore STories: Then, Now, Tomorrow, opened to the public at the ArtsScience Museum and will run till Oct 4. The next major event will be the ST Run at the Hub on Sept 27, with a special 18.45 km route created to commemorate the year 1845, when the paper was founded.
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