PERMATA Seni Koir was established and placed under the administration of the Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara JKKN (National Department for Culture and Arts) on 11 January 2010. It serves as a platform for children gifted in singing to be given exposure to vocal art especially choir. This programme is open to children aged 7 to 12 years old who are required to pass the audition first. Once selected, they will be taught vocals through reading and listening, as well as style of delivery in harmonious singing.
Among the criteria of selection for the choir are candidates must be Malaysians, 12 years old and below, possess vocal talent, have high confidence level, able to demonstrate movements and have good academic achievements. Priority is given to those who can read music notes.
PERMATA Seni Koir auditions are held twice a year. In 2009, 180 children took part in the auditions while 94 children went through the same process in 2010. A total of 72 children were selected from both auditions. Auditions will also be held as and when necessary.
Training for PERMATA Seni Koir members is held on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the year under the guidance of local experts. They are exposed to harmonious singing ie. Bass, Alto and Tenor, accompanied by simple movements to add colour to their performance. PERMATA Seni Koir members are also taught to read music notes and their skills are tested from time to time.
Apart from this, intensive leanings sessions are held twice a year during the school holidays through Kem PERMATA Seni Koir under the guidance of guest teachers from Malaysia and abroad. These sessions require greater focus and a higher level of commitment as the progress of the PERMATA Seni Koir members are being constantly assessed through written tests and examinations as well as singing.
The coordinators will also ensure that the academic achievement of each PERMATA Seni Koir member is always of a high standard so as to maintain the level of excellence of the PERMATA Seni Koir members, both academically and in the arts.
Community Programme (Program Komuniti) is part of the contents of the PERMATA Seni Programme. The main purpose is to provide the opportunity for participants to display their talents while participating in suitable community activities.
Under the Program Komuniti PERMATA Seni Koir, (PERMATA Choir Community Programme) performances were held at the Spastic Children Centre Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan as well as the Pediatric Ward of Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, Klang. Through this programme, PERMATA Seni Koir members had the opportunity to get close to the audience and bring cheer to the pediatric patients and other disabled groups. This programme was considered successful as it provided the PERMATA Seni Koir members with the exposure and the opportunity to train themselves in communicating and interacting with the local community. Choir members also gained a new experience through doing charity work while having a good time as well.
The Success of PERMATA Seni Koir
While PERMATA Seni Koir may be only one year old, the children of the choir have already made the country proud through their performances in several international programmes such as Rossa’s Concert – Melodi Cinta, Sesame Street Live, the First Ladies’ International Convention, PERMATA Seni Concert 2010 at Istana Budaya and the opening performance for the 2011 ASEAN TELMIN Meeting. In July 2011, thirty-seven PERMATA Seni Koir members were invited to perform at the World Peace Choral Festival in Vienna, Austria together with the children’s choirs from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, ASEAN Telecommunication Ministers Conference in 2011, The 56th Session Of The Commission On The Status Of Women (CSW)’United Nation, New York, ‘12th Asia Pacific Conference On Giftedness’ at Dubai, UAE from 11 – 16 July 2012, Enleashing Women’s Enterpreneurship Potential Forum at Astana Kazakstan and Friendship Across Generation concert in conjuction with the 40th anniversary, Establishment between Malaysia and The People’s Republic of China at Concert Hall, National Museum of Beijing, China 28th May 2014
Future Plans of PERMATA Seni Koir
Eventually, PERMATA Seni Koir Programme will be expanded to the whole country and auditions will be open to all children below 12 years old. PERMATA Seni Koir members who have reached the age of 13 and above shall be absorbed into the Koir Remaja group, and subsequently be eligible for selection into the National Choir based on individual excellence and eligibility.