The Complaints Choir

Someone forward this to my facebook account. A play built from our favorite complaints. hehe…Sounds like fun. Think I will check it out. 

Worldbeat   Singapore  Clara Chow             Nov 04, 2007

|Complaining is something of a national sport in Singapore. Just look at the number of irate letter-writers to newspaper forums, vocal housewives on radio shows and taxi drivers who insist on heatedly expounding their views to hapless passengers in the city state.

So a choir in which members sing their myriad complaints seems a natural progression.

As part of next year’s M1 Fringe Festival, Singaporean arts group The Necessary Stage will launch a Complaints Choir – one in which members of the public can get together to grouse in lovely, concerted song.

It will be the first Asian version of a concept started by Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen. The husband-and-wife team dreamed up the Complaints Choir project on a cold winter’s day in 2005. Out for a walk, they began wondering if the energy people put into complaining about their lot could be transformed into something more powerful.

The choir made its debut in Birmingham shortly after. In March last year, 91 singers reprised the idea in Helsinki. Since then, complaints choir have been formed and performed in St Petersburg, Hamburg, Melbourne and Budapest. And a Chicago edition sang its litany of woes in the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art last month.

Melissa Lim, 31, the Necessary Stage’s company manager, says: “As a nation, we always talk about how we can foster a greater sense of togetherness among Singaporeans. We’ve got innumerable community campaigns, Sing Singapore songs and songs commissioned for National Day. It would be interesting for people to share their complaints and build togetherness through that.”

Pointing out that many Singaporeans grumble incessantly about their country and yet would never dream of leaving its shores, she adds: “Perhaps our complaints reveal more about our love for this city than many will acknowledge.”

A public call for participants is out in the form of a TV spot screened in local art venues and on the internet, and in print ads. hoir participants will brainstorm their pet peeves in workshops, held in the Arts House’s chamber. The workshop venue is not without irony: it was converted from the old Parliamentary debating chamber, and the complaining chorus will literally take the seats of former policymakers.

No singing experience is required, and organisers stress that “no complaint is too big or small”. For those who need help getting their griping juices flowing, think tight underpants, snoring husbands and offices with Siberian temperatures in a tropical city. The complaints will be made into lyrics and then set to music by composer Reuben Kee and the choir will perform on January 26 and 27. Thirty people have signed up so far. And top of her list of grievances? People who smoke in lifts.


One thought on “The Complaints Choir


    Our performances can only be held at the Chamber at the Arts House. The confirmed times are at 3pm and 6pm on both Sat 26th Jan and Sun 27th Jan.

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