#244

2018 Tour Stop #12: Singapore, Singapore

Hello, friends!  

There are many fantastic stops that we’ve been to this tour, but our latest one, Singapore, has been especially meaningful. During our week in the island city-state, there were many fun performances to enjoy, beautiful sights to take in, and daring foods to try; however, what really made Singapore important to us was our opportunity to spend time at the Pathlight School.  

The Pathlight School is a large and successful school for students with autism, which we are connected to by Ng Sock Kian, the mother of a Din alum. The school was also co-founded by a friend of Sock Kian’s, Denise Phua, who is now the mayor of central Singapore. Mayor Phua also works with the Dins, organizing where we perform whenever we visit Singapore on tour. As a result, our time in Singapore is centered around our work with the Pathlight School and A Very Special Walk, a fundraiser for the Autism Resource Center of Singapore.  

A photo of the Dins and the students at the Pathlight School.

We spent several afternoons at the Pathlight School, both performing for the students and rehearsing with several student choirs who would sing with us at A Very Special Walk. The rehearsal with the students was incredible; we sang fun songs and worked with one another to learn choreography. It was a special moment for me, because I have relatives and friends with autism, so I took the time to reflect.  

The Dins were invited into a marvelous school of 1300 autistic students, and we were honored enough to sing and have fun with them, to see each student showcases their abilities, and to witness the goodness and love the teachers had for these students. It was truly a blessing.

A photo with Mayor Denise Phua, after a performance at the Raffles School.

A photo with Mayor Denise Phua, after a performance at the Raffles School.

In addition to our time at the Pathlight School, the Dins had many performances at high schools and colleges all around Singapore. Never before had I been exposed to such enthusiastic crowds. After every song, even every soloist, screaming and cheering would follow. After each performance, a myriad of signatures and pictures awaited. Some of the Dins attracted admirers, particularly the tallest Dins. At one point, a girl walked up to Austin and me and told him, “You’re so attractive”. She then glanced at me awkwardly, remembering I was there, and muttered, “You too.”

The Super Trees and the famed Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  Photo by Eli Troen #250

The Super Trees and the famed Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

Photo by Eli Troen #250

Outside of performing, we also had outstanding experiences exploring.  On our second night, we all set out to attend Singapore’s light shows. A handful of us went to the light show on the harbor, which involved intricate designs of color reflected off sprayed mist on the shore. Most of us, on the other hand, went to the Super Trees light show.  These massive, artificial trees were lined with patterns of lights that glowed a variety of colors during a suite of famous opera songs. Many of the Dins who attended this, including me, thought that this was one of the most memorable experiences of Tour. The finale of the show was Luciano Pavarotti’s renowned rendition of Nessun Dorma, paired with a brilliant flood of sapphire, vermilion, and every other color you can think of.  The only word to describe it was magical.  

Other experiences that Dins embarked on in Singapore were slightly less fruitful. A group of adventurous Dins decided to try Durian, a thorny Southeast Asian fruit considered to be a delicacy in Singapore. Of course, this would not have been an adventure unless there was risk involved: the durian, once opened, smells to most like a mix of sewage, rotten onions, and trash. Durian is banned from Singaporean public transportation and even some hotels because its horrific odor lingers for days. On top of that, many claim the taste matches the smell, while others argue that it is quite delicious. Sam, Ethan, and several others mustered the courage to eat it—and boy, did they hate it. The only one to walk away not insisting on his hatred for the fruit was Sam, who essentially described it as “not bad, but certainly not good.” Anyway, it made for a good story!

A photo after A Very Special Walk!

A photo after A Very Special Walk!

Our final full day in Singapore was action-packed, starting in the early morning with A Very Special Walk.  It was truly special to be a part of such a large event that raised money for adults with autism, which is an often forgotten group of society. The sun was strong, and it was the hottest environment I had performed in for all of Tour so far. Nonetheless, we had a terrific time, and the event raised over $750,000 USD—a huge success!

Later that day, we performed one last time and capped off our final night with a trip up to the top of the Marina Bay Sands. The Marina Bay Sands is a colossal 5-star hotel which looks like a surfboard on three stilts; it is incredibly iconic in Singapore. With most of us donning our suits from Pinky Tailor in Bangkok, we ascended to the top of the landmark in style and soaked in the wonderful view. An extraordinary final day for an extraordinary stop! I will cherish the memories made in Singapore for years to come.

Dinthusiastically,

Kevin Kearns #244

Some of the Dins christening their brand-new Pinkys Suits on the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel!

Some of the Dins christening their brand-new Pinkys Suits on the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel!

2018 Tour Stop #3: Dublin, Ireland

Dia duit! Or, for those who don’t speak Irish, top o’ the mornin’ to you! Dublin was the Dins’ third stop on World Tour, and although we were only there for a mere 36 hours, it was a delightful place. The Dins have not been to Dublin in almost 20 years, so the stop seemed like a brand new one for us!

A fun, pub-filled street in Dublin with an even fun-er Music Director.  Photo by Sam Rosner #245

A fun, pub-filled street in Dublin with an even fun-er Music Director.

Photo by Sam Rosner #245

The Dins arrived on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 5th, to a somewhat confusing scenario regarding our Airbnb. Once the minor hurdle was sorted out, though, the Dins relaxed and rested for a while. Our previous stop in London was rather packed with daily excursions and gigs, so it was good for all of us to take a few hours and kick back.  All of us then headed into the city, soaking in the sights and working up an appetite by wandering around. After thoroughly exploring the main drag, we all went to get dinner at the oldest pub in Ireland, the Brazen Head. When the food came, it made sense why the pub had been thriving since the 1100s. The traditional Irish stew I had there was perhaps one of the top three meals I’ve had on tour so far.  Though I didn’t have, the others took the opportunity to get some Guinness, Ireland’s most Irish beer - though even that seems to sell it short, from what I was told. After the wonderful experience, the guys split up, some going back to the Airbnb to sleep early, others continuing on to explore.

A photo of the towering Dublin Castle.  Photo by Eli Troen #25o

A photo of the towering Dublin Castle.

Photo by Eli Troen #25o

The next morning was a late start for most. I got up earlier than everyone, hoping to attend a Catholic Mass in one of Dublin’s beautiful churches, and as I was getting ready to go, Sam got up and decided to join me. Together, we went into the city, and after the Mass, we explored for several hours. We walked through St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church, the latter of which was where the first performance of Handel’s Messiah took place. We also checked out Dublin Castle, strolled through St. Stephen’s Green, and explored the campus of Trinity College Dublin before heading back for our performance. Everyone got in their tails, after reconvening from various daytime expeditions through the city, and headed off to the gorgeous Trinity College Chapel.  

The Dins rehearsing for our Dublin performance in the stunning Trinity College Chapel.  Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

The Dins rehearsing for our Dublin performance in the stunning Trinity College Chapel.

Photo by Kevin Kearns #244

After a few warm-ups in the resonant space, we thought we would further promote our new stop’s gig by doing pop-up performances in the heart of the city. We strolled over in tails to the Temple Bar area, a major tourist hub, the Molly Malone statue, and finally the Trinity College Plaza, singing short sets in each to reel in interested people. The tactic was quite effective (a security guard even had to stop us!), and the pop-ups were one of my favorite memories of performing on tour so far. The gig at Trinity Chapel itself was a great deal of fun, too. There was something truly special about singing Danny Boy in Ireland. A high school friend of Sam’s was among the crowd at the gig, and she and one of her friends joined us for a late dinner at Davy Byrne’s, home of “the best pint of Guinness in Dublin”. It was a great final night out on the town, and shortly after, the Dins made it back to pack. We had a painfully early wake up call at 4:15am to leave for our flight to Zurich, but I couldn’t help but be thankful for a terrific stop. It was new for the group, new for almost all of us individually, and we only had a day and a half, but we managed to have a terrific time exploring and a successful gig! Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to spend even more time exploring the beautiful isle of Ireland next tour. Slán Go Fóill, or goodbye for now, and see you in Switzerland!

Cheers,

Kevin Kearns #244