Contemporary Christian Acappella Vocal Band from Singapore!

Friday, December 30, 2005

AGAPELLA was at the Esplanade...

...on 15 December, doing 2 sets of Christmas songs -- and our (in)famous "12 Pains" skit. What, you weren't there? Nevermind-- you can still watch part of the gig here:

Video links 1 2

Thanks lots to Sim's classmate Sharon for posting the videos! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Your Message From God

This list, which was posted on Dick Staub's blog, reminds us that nothing happens until we allow ourselves to be loved by God.


Effective Immediately,

Please be aware that there are changes YOU need to make in YOUR life. These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life. I apologize for any inconvenience, but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you. Please, follow these 10 guidelines.

1. QUIT WORRYING: Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little thing that comes your way?

2. PUT IT ON THE LIST: Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not YOUR list. Put it on MY to-do-list. Let ME be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all... God. I can take care of anything you put into My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

3. TRUST ME: Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, yourproblems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

4. LEAVE IT ALONE: Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now; I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feelingstronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do My job.

5. TALK TO ME: I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what was making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. Butthere's one thing I pray you never forget. Please, don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love YOU! I want to hear your voice. I want you to includeMe in the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest Friend.

6. HAVE FAITH: I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me--I know what I'm doing. Trust Me; you wouldn't want theview from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

7. SHARE: You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunatethan you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

8. BE PATIENT: I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expect to handle something on Myto-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I shouldalways rush, rush, rush.

9. BE KIND: Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I love you. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but Istill love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please, know I love each of your differences.

10. LOVE YOURSELF: As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself? You were created by Me for one reason only--to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to me. Don't ever forget!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Scientific Disproof of the Santa Theory

Does he or does he not exist?

1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west(which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding etc. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle we know, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull ten times the normal weight, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion -- If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

Original source: (The Human Neutrino aka Linda Harden)

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Other Wise Man

Hey did you catch Jam in the Church of Our Saviour production of the musical "The Other Wise Man"? It was based on Henry van Dyke's classic Christmas story. In the COOS production we watched on Saturday night, Jam (leftmost in the pic) played the lead character-- the "other wise man", Artaban. The hour-long musical had excellent music and was staged with a full chorus and inventive shadow puppetry. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its message was simple but lovely-- Jesus' words in Matthew 25:40: "Inasmuch as thou hast done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me."
- Aargafella

We all is fruitcake.

Chris our resident culinary genius (yes, we are a collection of grossly talented individuals) baked us mini fruitcakes for Christmas. They had like, apricots, raisins, sultanas, nuts and a generous shot of alcohol. Yum! Best of all, they each came wrapped in a hilarious "I Love Cat" Engrish paper bag... the tiny words at the bottom are reproduced at the top of the pic. :)
- Aargafella

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Have a Ball...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Narnia" dares... show Christ not merely as a Suffering Servant, but as a King.

So how did a Hollywood movie about crusaders, a sacrificial lion and talking beavers gross $67 million in its opening weekend? Read about it here. - Aargafella

Monday, December 19, 2005

Year-end reflections (Part 3!)

Haha...part 3 and we're only half-way through completing this set of reflections over our past- year gigs...thanks aaron (his name is Aaron really but he calls himself a very gaelic Aargafella - LOTR-esque delusions, perhaps? ;P) for getting the ball rolling.

I think the Boys Brigade gig on the 4th December in Johor Baru was very enjoyable, for one. It was truly fantastic, being given an opportunity to share God's love with the kids. Junyan, for instance, wrapped up our gig there with a quick, yet powerful, message on David's reliance on God's strength in his battle with Goliath. And at the last, he called on the youth to place their trust in Christ and receive a blessing. As I told Junyan later, there was a fair bit of sniffling in the audience too...testament, perhaps, to the touching of their hearts by the Spirit.

Thanks also to Michael Moorthy (Asia President of BB) for the warm, warm reception that we got upon arrival. And for reminding us that national tensions aside, we're all a family in Christ. Hehe.

Thanks to Uma too for helping to organise this gig - the kids were welcoming, and a real blessing to our hearts as well.

And finally, thanks be to the Lord for bringing us there, and for reminding us of the opportunities that abound everywhere for us to be His hands and His feet (and His voice). Glory be to God! - Sim

11 December. The Sunday following our BB gig in JB, we headed across the causeway again—this time to sing at Tina’s home church, Hebron Presbyterian at Skudai (an off-shoot of Holy Light Presbyterian Church). We ran into some delays at the Malaysian customs and for awhile we thought we wouldn’t be able to make it in time to the service. We prayed hard and thank God it got sorted out after awhile and we rushed over to Hebron in two cars, guided by Tina and her brother in another car.

We were given a warm welcome by the church members, including their Chairman Elder Dr. Leong Yim Fong and Tina’s mom, Deacon Irene Oh. The congregation was somewhere over 100 people; with a good mix of the younger folk and the older ones. After a wonderful time of worshipping together, we got on stage and sang 10 songs. Tina did a great job translating our various spiels into Mandarin in between the songs! From where I was onstage, I could see many people singing along to the carols; they were clearly enjoying the early start to the festive season.

We’d been told that the youth were headed to Batu Pahat for their annual retreat immediately after the service. Jam blessed them with a few words of encouragement and we closed our performance with “Now Unto Him”. Then came Elder Dr. Leong’s thoughtful message (complete with Powerpoint presentation) on Proverbs 24:1-22, about how true wisdom and knowledge is found in the Word of God.

After the service we stayed to chat with some of the congregation. One of them, a lady called Mary, came up to thank us for our performance. She shared with us that she has been blessed with the gift of new song, and that while she works at her household chores she prays and spontaneous songs of praise overflow audibly from her lips. She is the living embodiment of the exhortations found in many parts of the Psalms! God Himself puts these words of praise into the mouths of His children, that He may be glorified and that His church may be encouraged and built up. It put a big smile on my face to hear Mary’s sharing and I was thankful to have met her and the other members of the church.

After lunch with our gracious hosts we headed back home. We were very happy with our first overseas road-trip. Praise God for the experience. Thanks are due to Tina for organizing us, and to Elder Dr. Michael Tay, Caleb and everyone at Hebron for the lovely time that we had. I’m looking forward to another trip this year! Malacca, anybody? - Aargafella

Year-end Reflections (part 2)

On 3 December AGAPELLA presented a Christmas mini-concert at World Vision’s annual Christmas High-Tea. WV is the Singapore office of World Vision International, an international Christian relief and development organisation working to promote the well being of all people - especially children. The high-tea was an occasion for sponsors, donors and volunteers to fellowship and share the Christmas spirit.

The event was held at YWCA premises at Fort Canning Lodge, and included a mini-bazaar with all manner of stalls offering balloon sculpture, Touch Nature’s products, festive goodies etc. The food was excellent. That aside, the programme included a round-up of WV’s events for 2005. They do important work to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, especially among the youth. Also, their key programmes include the annual 30-hour famine programme, organized to raise awareness among our youth of the poverty situation in Asia; and the child sponsorship programme.

Local accountant-turned-youth counsellor and recording artiste Genie performed a couple of songs (she’s a great performer and her album “Genie’s mood diary” is just out, so check it out). AGAPELLA closed the event by singing our first “proper” Christmas repertoire for the year.

We reprised last year’s hugely successful crowd-pleasing mini-skit known as “The 12 Pains of Christmas”. We also tested our “Hark” and “Mary’s Boy Child” out on the audience, who liked them very much, thankfully. Lyn did some great sound engineering for us at this event.
World Vision is a wonderful organization with dedicated staff. Irene, Lynette, Mike, thanks for inviting us to be a part of your Christmas event – we were privileged to be a part of it! As your efforts bless the poor communities and children all over the world, may the Lord continue to bless you too.

- Aargafella

Year-end Reflections (part 1)

I know that Christmas day isn’t even here yet, but AGAPELLA has actually finished our Christmas season for the year! :) It was quite hectic for us the last few weeks, but lots of fun at the same time. We were once again conscious of God’s grace, strength and guidance for the group and this ministry that He established.

Let me kick off our reflections by going back to the very first entry in our blog… about our first Christmas gig on 15 October, at the National Arts Council’s Acappella Attacks! programme at West Coast Park. Up till then we had been mainly tied up with singing at the various weddings of our members (a quarter of us has gotten hitched this year)! It was simply great to be a part of those celebrations. I think we started seriously rehearsing our Christmas repertoire in late August, and so Acappella Attacks! was a sort of ‘test run’ for us.

The event was held outdoors under a tent right by the West Coast MacDonald’s. We drew a crowd of more than 100, as far as I can see… not only folks that we had invited, but also people from inside Mac’s, kids who were there to play Frisbee and football, and various joggers and picnicking families.

It was very good fun. We did our standard songs and carols but didn’t feel confident enough to try two new songs we’ve been working on, namely the Kings Singers’ “Mary’s Boy Child” and the Take 6 version of “Hark the Herald”. I felt that the audience interaction and banter was very good, though. We were greatly encouraged by the positive reaction of Simone’s family members and some 10-year old kids who stopped their football game to sit down and listen to us. There were also other friends there, whose smiles obviously indicated that they were enjoying the early start to Christmas. Uma told the audience a story, and shared a message about the love of God and the Christmas season. She is a wonderful speaker with natural stage presence and I think we ought to put her on the spot more often! :)

Well, after the gig we stayed back a bit to chat with family, friends and so on. Sherm and I played footie with the kids. They were very sociable and a treat to be with… they even demanded that every member of AGAPELLLA autograph their football! Smart kids-- I'm sure that it'll fetch a fortune one day....

We ended off what was a very pleasant day with dinner at Sakuraya, at Ginza plaza nearby. I must say that I personally felt a little under-prepared for the gig, especially since we hadn’t intensively rehearsed with mikes for a long time. But we got excellent support from the NAC and the organisers, Go-getters. Most of all, I praise the Lord for helping us to overcome our weaknesses, and helping us to connect with the crowd. It was a great confidence booster for us and a wonderful way for us to kick off our season. I pray that the seeds of the Good News of Christmas will take root and bloom in the hearts of everyone who heard us.

- Aargafella

About A Cappella Attacks! (info from the National Arts Council, 2004)

Launched by the National Parks Board and National Arts Council on 18th December 2004, A Cappella Attacks! is a new series of free performances at West Coast Park, presenting performances by Singapore’s very own talented a cappella groups.

A Cappella : Singing without the use of instruments, shows only the prowess of the voices and the creativity of the vocals, mind and body to perform music often performed with a band. It’s a new and exciting phenomenon!

The subsequent series will take place on the 3rd Saturday of every month, through 2005.

Friday, December 09, 2005

of socks and sheperds

cool stuff from matthias media - visit the site, and you'll see how they put an interesting twist on explaining the real deal behind christmas carols. something we could do, yes?

- sim

Come to the Esplanade!