Missions, Outreach

Thank you for the music!

Through MMS, and despite facing tough times
themselves, Singaporean believers contributed
support for those affected by COVID-19 at SMS. The
school celebrates Singapore’s National Day every
year. This banner is made up of close to a hundred
cards expressing well wishes for Singapore.

Being able to run our summer programme at the Singapore Mission School (SMS) this year was an unexpected blessing. With the hardships of the COVID-19 lockdown, little time was left in the school year and we were uncertain if anyone would turn up. However, a modest number of students did come, determined to have a good time.

The teachers pulled out all the stops with an intensive three-week music course that aimed to have every participant learn to play at least one song from scratch on one of several instruments (recorder, ukulele or keyboard) and to play as a band using handbells, cajons and other percussion instruments. They set the tone at the start with a hearty rendition of ABBA’s hit “Thank You for the Music” and a performance of the songs the 40+ children would learn, including “Home” and “Seek Ye First”.

Students were introduced to different genres of music from around the world, the mechanics of producing music, and very basic music theory—all this in between practice time. Afternoons were spent practising individually and together as a band. The children surprised us with their abilities and enthusiasm, and it was euphoniously noisy!

Over Zoom, musicians from Laos and Singapore contributed to widening our children’s perspective of performing music and drove home the need for “hours of boring practice”. The Lion City Brass Band opened our eyes to the beauty of brass instruments. Khaen player Salathy wowed teachers and students alike with the complexity of this traditional Lao Pan flute. Singer Aluna shared how her parents influenced her love of music, and pianist Jordana explained the difference between the piano and the keyboard.

The icing on the cake was violinist Lynette Seah’s appearance at our online mini concert. She played “Meditation” from Thaïs, her “most heartfelt piece”, and explained how it was like a prayer to God. Lynette encouraged the children not to give up practising and learning correctly: “Learning to play a musical instrument is the same as learning any kind of sport—you also have to practise.”

Although the students were not able to perform live, their enthusiastic performances were videoed and shared via the school’s Google Drive for parents to enjoy.

As Lynette said: “I’m very grateful to God for the gift of music in my life.” Indeed, thank you, God, for the music, for giving it to us!

Singapore Mission School provides holistic education in English and Lao for the coming generations of Lao people who will possess the right moral, mental and educational upbringing to positively influence their community and country through excellent service in all sectors of society.


Ukulele practice at the summer school.
Renowned violinist Lynette Seah performs
for the students.

Lesley Yeow is the principal of the Singapore Mission School Laos. She and her staff learnt something new this year when the school had to conduct classes over Zoom. It was a great experience, but all were very happy to return to physical school! / Photos courtesy of Lesley Yeow