Project 2020 by The Nanyang Collective explores the impact of COVID-19 through music

Tickets to Project 2020 are available on SISTIC for $25.

Shannon Kuan

Weird talents include playing the violin, but with a ukulele and a clothes hanger.

Published: 29 December 2021, 2:14 PM

While 2021 is coming to an end, COVID-19 is still around and for many, the past two years have been a struggle.

Living through the pandemic has been a wild ride and for many, it is an experience that cannot be described easily. 

Most of us might look back at the year 2020 as the moment that changed everything.

The Nanyang Collective aims to encompass everything the year brought to us all into a theatrical musical concert titled Project 2020A Contemporary Introspection to The Pandemic.

Project 2020 consists of five different movements focused on the impact the pandemic had on Singapore’s society in a chronological timeline — inception, isolation, introspection, inevitability, and lastly incandescence.

During this period, the deprivation of social interaction due to the circuit breaker led to many seeking solace in technology. The pandemic impeded the lives of many, surfacing and heightening prevalent social issues. This was an undeniable period of introspection for us all.

Project 2020 aims to show the light at the end of this tunnel, to evoke a sanguine acceptance on not only living in an endemic, but the recognition of contemporary works. 

Project 2020 is directed by Dedric Wong, The Nanyang Collective’s music director and conductor. 


Dedric Wong is also the assistant conductor of Ding Yi Music Company. PHOTO CREDIT: DEDRIC WONG


Dedric understands the struggles those working in the arts faced when the pandemic hit — especially for the self-employed. Thus, he tried to hire as many self-employed people who found it hard to find jobs in the current environment to help out with Project 2020.

“Through this project, I wanted to bring in people affected by COVID-19. We tried our very best to bring in self-employed people to really support the production of this project,” the 35-year-old  shared with Youthopia.

As Ding Yi Music Company — where he works full-time — is a Chinese instrumental ensemble, Dedric wanted to create something with more unique characteristics for the musical concert.

It is why The Nanyang Collective incorporates Chinese, Malay, Tamil and Western instruments.

Dedric said: “The reason why we call it Nanyang Collective is because everyone is coming together to produce that Nanyang flavour or sound. I wouldn’t say it’s 100 per cent uniquely Singapore, but it’s something that is not easily found elsewhere in Singapore.”

Project 2020 by The Nanyang Collective isn’t simply a normal instrumental ensemble.


Apart from taking in instruments from various cultures such as the pipa, flute and accordion; the performance will also be infused with theatrical elements. PHOTO CREDIT: WAN SAN YIP VIA UNSPLASH


Dedric promises an expandable concert experience with intriguing visual media and sound design to help support the messages the music is trying to convey.

“We want to do something that’s out of the blue! Some may call it new music, contemporary music or an avant garde type of music. Through this ensemble, we hope that we can play new music that also reflects some philosophical themes,” he said.

Dedric also used to be part of the Youth Action Challenge which helped him ponder about how his music could help people through bringing out the message of inclusivity, environmental issues, mental health issues and more.

As the theme of the last movement in Project 2020 is about an unknown future, Dedric hopes the audience will learn and take away something from this musical experience.


Despite opening up our borders, Dedric feels that the COVID-19 situation should not be taken lightly yet as death rates are still increasing by the day. PHOTO CREDIT: ANNA SHVETS VIA PEXELS


“This is what I would like to show in the concert… these types of issues that reflect the human mind and what we are thinking about, using theatrical musical elements.

“I think it is a message to send out to the audience or public that this is something we should be careful or mindful of,” he noted.

To Dedric, Project 2020 isn’t just about the circuit breaker. Instead, it’s about the different experiences Singaporeans went through and the issues that surfaced throughout that period.

He commented: “I really hope that no matter the age group, this concert is something that after watching, everyone will reflect again on.”

Project 2020 — A Contemporary Introspection to The Pandemic will be available for viewing at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Jan 16, 2022 at 7.30PM.

Tickets are currently available for booking here on SISTIC at a standard rate of $25 for adults, and $20 for students, full-time national servicemen, and senior citizens aged 55 and above.

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