SINGAPORE – The 27,000 spectators at the Padang at this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) will be part of a massive synchronised light display.
For the first time, paradegoers will be issued LED wristbands that light up in synchronisation with the parade’s acts, allowing them to become an integral part of the show.
Other highlights include a special bicentennial segment featuring eight floats representing longstanding local institutions. The parade will also feature a combined schools marching band, and singalong sessions with classic NDP songs such as Stand Up For Singapore.
The highlights were shared at a media event on Wednesday (July 3).
More than 2,700 performers are involved in the parade’s show segment, of which 85 per cent are aged below 35. This is the largest proportion of young people to participate in the parade’s show segment in the last decade.
Chairman of the show committee, Colonel Lim Han Yong, said the show segment celebrates the timeless values that have defined Singaporeans across generations – unity, resilience and the courage to dream.
Even as the show looks back on Singapore’s past, it will also look forward, and the cast of more than 2,300 young people complements this theme, said Col Lim.
“We started off the design of the National Day Parade with our bicentennial commemoration in mind, and the key thing we wanted to focus on is to learn from the past and focus on the future, and hence one of the key ideas is to feature more youths on parade,” he said.
The show is told over six acts, in line with the NDP theme of “Our Singapore”.
It kicks off with a segment commemorating Singapore’s bicentennial, where the eight floats will be featured.
The organisations represented have played a role in building Singapore. They include Robinsons, which was established in 1858, and the Singapore General Hospital, which was set up in 1821.
The Singapore Army’s Red Lions, a crowd favourite, will free-fall from a height of 3,048m during the show’s prologue segment.
Other show staples, such as dance performances by brightly costumed performers, laser displays and giant props, will be in this year’s show as well.
At the end of each of act, there will be singalong sessions featuring NDP classics such as Count On Me, Singapore; and One People, One Nation, One Singapore.
Singer-songwriter Dick Lee, who has returned to helm this year’s parade as the creative director, said the show will have a sense of familiarity.
“I’m just trying to entertain everybody more than ever before, and add new technology (LED wristbands), which are really going to change the game,” he said.
Performers have been training at least once a week for the past few months.
Nishaad Gopalakrishnan, 13, said he has spent at least three hours every week since February rehearsing for his show segment.
The thought of performing to such a large audience is a thrill for Nishaad, who will be performing with his schoolmates from Temasek Secondary School in the show’s fifth act.
“I’m looking forward to my parents watching me dance; I want to make them proud of me,” said the first-time NDP performer.