Tonight I attended a concert. Of sorts. It was the first time I stepped inside The Gardens Theater (I’m sure there’s supposed to be an apostrophe somewhere in there, but I’m not entirely sure), and I walked right past it at first. Only realizing that I had walked past it because there was a signboard pointing the way I came from.
I found the name of the place printed in nondescript letters on an easy-to-miss glass door. I was also late. But good fortunes abound, the concert started later. The first reason I even went for the concert, I must admit, was because it was free. But following close behind the first reason is the second, which is because it was a concert featuring Eunice Hoo.
Eunice Hoo. Where should I begin with the wonderful Eunice Hoo?
We met through a mutual friend. He was recording songs and putting them on YouTube. She was recording songs and putting them on YouTube. I could, to a certain (read: low) capacity, make videos suitable to be put on YouTube.
It was the beginning of 2013, a couple of days before I fell sick with high fever and tonsillitis. I just came out of writing/directing a 5-minute musical to review the church’s journey in 2012. It was a video shoot we have been planning for a while, and sleep-deprived on account of the short musical as I was, I was still excited to be a part of the whole project.
Our friend Stephen was the director of the shoot. We met Eunice for the first time on the first day of the shoot, which was New Year’s Day. She was bubbly and sprightly and all smiles. There was an aura of simple joyousness radiating from her that time and tiredness could not dissipate, which, I think, was what kept us going despite the incredibly tight schedule and the even more incredibly unforgiving weather.
I have never seen anyone so young carrying so much talent and grace at once.
She was a joy to edit, which is more than can be said for the many, many others whose video I edited before. She carried herself through the shots with a silliness only possible in youth, yet her antics were somehow just right for the video. The pieces fell right into place, and no one’s name had to be cursed as I edited the videos.
Being late, I was shooed away from the VIP area and into the second level of the 200-seater hall. Out she came, as charming and as chirpy as could be, dishing out number after number despite her obvious nervousness. Sometime in the middle of the performance, my friend beside me screamed, “I LOVE YOU, EUNICE!”
We all cheered. Because we would have all said the same a thousand times.
When I walked out of The Gardens Theater later that night, I stopped to admire a bunting that the organizers had set up outside: a decidedly unflattering larger-than-life photo of Eunice squatting and looking straight into the camera, a red apple inexplicably in her mouth. Her name was printed somewhere above her head, along with the title of her album.
It was a ridiculous photo, but it was somehow just right. There was joy, pure and simple, emanating from it: one that time and tiredness had not worn away.
And if there’s something our weary world needs, it’s more joyous people spreading it around like Eunice Hoo.