Members of the PSG putting up decorations for the Teachers' Day Concert.
As Michael Jackson's hit song Beat It pounded from the loudspeakers, seven dancers in colourful outfits took to the stage. They quickly got into position and grooved to the music, while the delighted audience roared with loud cheers and energetic applause.
A typical Teachers' Day Concert? Hardly - for the performers were not students but the Dancing Mamas of Ngee Ann Primary School's Parent Support Group (PSG). And this was just one of many numbers lined-up by PSG members to make the concert a memorable occasion for the teachers.
A tradition of performance
The show-stopping acts were part of a long-standing PSG tradition at Ngee Ann Primary School. According to PSG Chairman Mrs Jane Koe, this is the seventh year they have been involved with organising the celebration. The PSG members started out by contributing individual performances and gifts to the Teachers' Day Concert. Then two years ago, the school thought it would be a good idea to let the PSG take over the entire event and give the teachers a well-deserved break.
The Dancing Mamas practised for two months to put up this energetic dance.
"The Teachers' Day Concert is the highlight of the PSG calendar of events," says Mrs Koe. "Organising the concert is our way of expressing our appreciation to the teachers who have put in so much effort teaching and guiding our children during the academic year."
Drawing up the day's programme is a key task of the concert organisers. To put together a quality show, some PSG members serve as part of a judging panel to audition pupils who are keen to perform in the concert. Other PSG members provide guidance to pupils, for instance, coaching student MCs in their elocution and giving stage advice to first-time performers, so that they can put up a wonderful show for their teachers.
Putting talents to work
PSG members too benefit from exceptional camaraderie and having an opportunity to use their special skills and talents. For example, the Dancing Mamas are enthusiastic about dancing and they share a strong rapport with one another.
"We've been doing this for the last three years," shares Mdm Norlia Embong, a member of the Dancing Mamas. "We've become good friends and we all contribute ideas to the choreography. After our practice sessions, we even go for meals and hang out together." Their weekly practice sessions started two months before the concert, then doubled in frequency about a fortnight before the concert.
Another PSG member, Mrs Faye Tan, shares her artistic skills by creating many beautiful handicrafts. Last year, she made photo frames for the teachers using recycled paper. This year, she decided to make candle-holders. It took her three days, working for eight hours a day, to finish making 100 candle-holders.
Why candle-holders? Mrs Tan explains, "I think teachers are like candles - they sacrifice themselves for the pupils and are like a light to them." Another PSG member, Mrs Jennifer Tiong, helped Mrs Tan to wrap the gifts, which the pupils presented to the teachers at the celebration.
The PSG ordered a cake for the teachers in appreciation of their hard work.
In addition to making the gifts, Mrs Tan and Mrs Tiong, who joined the PSG just last year, also extended their creative touch to decorating the Concert venue. With help from some other parents, they dressed up the hall with cheerful decorations. They decked the stage with balloons and paper streamers in perky hues and hung a huge banner at the centre of the stage, with the words 'Happy Teachers' Day' printed on it.
The PSG members were meticulous and ensured every detail was looked into, from decorations for the concert venue (also done by Mrs Tan and Mrs Tiong)to the floral-themed programme sheets. A fitting highlight of the concert was a tribute to the teachers by PSG member Mrs Thu Le and the school's IT staff Ms Noor Adzilah. They compiled all the teachers' photos into a slide show, which got the pupils excited and cheering loudly again.
For Ngee Ann Primary School's Principal Mrs Cheng Huey Teng, all this was a touching demonstration of the PSG's dedication and appreciation for the teachers. "The effort by the PSG was tremendous and the concert was full of pleasant surprises," she says. "We were impressed with the high quality and enthusiasm. It was so joyous and a wonderful blessing to the teachers."