Sunday, August 16, 2015

Black or White: An Exclusive Evening Experience of Esplanade&Me Programme

Last evening, on 15 Aug 2015 (Sat), together with several other bloggers, I attended an exclusive evening experience of the Esplanade&Me Programme. This programme was launched in July 2015.

The evening includes an introduction to the Esplanade&Me Programme and an one-hour tour of the Esplanade that combines the best elements from the special Esplanade Walk and the more extensive Esplanade Tour. The evening's programme also included a dinner at Past To Present and a treat to a performance by NOAH, a best-selling alternative pop/rock band from Bandung, Indonesia. We experienced what a cardholder of the Esplanade&Me programme could look forward to after signing up.

The performance at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

Lots of thanks to Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's Relationship Management's team for the invitation and for being wonderful hosts.

A section introducing visitors to E&Me.

Esplanade&Me Programme
For the past two weeks, a link on the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay's latest Esplanade&Me programme (E&Me) have been appearing frequently on my Facebook's news-feed. This link has also been frequently shared by many of my friends who are art-lovers and music-lovers.

After learning about the Esplanade&Me Programme, it was a clear decision that I will sign up for one of the cards. Afterall, I attend a fair number of arts-related events at Esplanade every year. My greater challenge was to decide which one, the Black Card or the White Card, would better suit my needs.

I also wish to opt for the most cost-effective card that offers me the greatest Return-On-Investment. Some art-related experiences are priceless and if my perceived value of these experiences far outweighs the annual fee for the Card, I think I would have gotten a wonderful deal out of the Card. However, Black or White?

A section of Esplanade introducing the E&Me programme.

Annual fees
The annual fee to sign up for a White Card is $50.
On the other hand, the annual fee to sign up for a Black Card is $500 per year.

The privileges
Before the exclusive evening experience, I have already found out through this site: that by signing up for Esplanade&Me, we will get the following privileges:
  • Be connected to invite-only events and opportunities to go behind the scenes. 
  • Receive special promotions at the Esplanade Mall 
  • Enjoy savings on tickets for selected programmes at Esplanade. 
  • Be in the know with the e-newsletters from Esplanade 
  • 20% savings on Esplanade Walk/ Tour
  • Receive a personalized card
  • For the Black Card holders, each will receive 10 x $20 Ticket Vouchers codes ($200). (Note: terms and conditions apply on the use of these Ticket Vouchers).
A photo taken during a Tour of Esplanade.

The Black Card?
During the evening experience, I learnt that the Black Card will be most suitable for people who would like a deeper experience of the arts-related programme held at Esplanade. One of the key distinguishing differences between the Black Card and the White Card is that the Black Card offers invitation to private events and premieres that are only opened to holders of the Black Card.

For example, I found out there will be a Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Post-show Artist Party on 17 Oct 2015 (Sat) right after the concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra! This event is open only to Black Card holders.

Esplanade Box Office. Black Card holders enjoy a special priority line here.

In addition, Black Card holders enjoy a dedicated priority booking for the best available seats for selected programmes. The Black Card holders enjoy a special priority line at the Esplanade Box Office allows them to skip the queues. Holders of Black Card also get to save 10% on parking at Esplanade.

Black Card holders get to save 10% on parking at Esplanade.

The White Card?
Then again, the White Card has its merits because at an annual fee of $50, it is comparatively very much easier to get started with the White Card and still enjoy a host of special invite-only and behind the scenes experiences that are available only to people who have signed up for the E&Me programme, be it the Black Card and the White Card.

The Introductory Promotions that gives away 2 x $10 Ticket Voucher codes ($20) for everyone who sign up for a White Card by 31 Dec 2015 is a huge drawing point to sign up for the White Card.

This poster introduces visitors to the Esplanade&Me Mall Promotions.

Tour of Esplanade
As the tour of Esplanade was my favourite highlights of last evening's experience of E&Me programme, I decided to shelve all the contemplation about which card to sign up for aside once the tour started. Our guide for the evening was Joy who gave an excellent, comprehensive and moving guided-tour of the Esplanade! Thank you Joy!

Even though I had already taken a guided tour of the Esplanade slightly less than a decade ago, and even though I had performed on a few occasions at the Esplanade Concert Hall, I still learnt a lot of new insights about the Esplanade from Joy's guided tour. One of the things that I have learnt was that the initial design idea for the two domes of the Esplanade was for them to look like a glowing Chinese lantern in the park. The final design of the domes which include the iconic aluminium sunshades cladding on the dome came about as an ingenious solution to keep excessive heat out of the building.

Esplanade Theatre.

The Esplanade Theatre was designed in the horseshoe-shape style of the traditional Italian opera house. It holds three full-sized stages. Every seat in the Theatre will get a good view of the stage. I learnt about the extensive number of fly-bars and fly-towers that are available for use at the Theatre.

Esplanade Concert Hall.
Photo credits: Mr Jerome Lim | The Long and Winding Road.

The Esplanade Concert Hall was designed by master acoustician Russell Johnson. I love how the acoustic canopy, the reverberation chambers and the velour curtains work together to create optimal conditions for a wide range of music performances at the Concert Hall.

Dining at Esplanade
Holders of both the Black Card and the White Card under the E&Me programme enjoy savings and special redemption for limited periods at selected outlets at Esplanade Mall. Simply show our card.

The casual dining spot, Past 2 Present (Unit #02-14), which serves Italian and Singaporean cuisine is one of the selected outlets where E&Me cardholders can enjoy E&Me Mall Promotions.

Past 2 Present.
I like its mushroom soup especially. Service there was good and thoughtful too.
Meet and Greet
After the electrifying and moving concert by NOAH, the best-selling alternative pop/rock band from Bandung (Indonesia), there was a Post-show Meet and Greet session with NOAH after the concert! This exclusive session was limited to E&Me cardholders who hold a ticket to the concert and to eighty Category One ticket holders of this concert.

The post-show Meet and Greet offered the opportunity get to be up-close with the artistes. Each of us received a commemorative poster printed for specially for the concert and got our poster autographed by all the members of NOAH. What a wonderful treat especially for the fans.

One of the autographed poster.
Photo courtesy of Belinda Tan.

E&Me cardholders can look forward to be connected with the team at Esplanade and selected artistes through invite-only events. The opportunity to attend an Meet and Greet session is one of the privileges of being a E&Me cardholder. Membership have its privileges!

Esplanade Concert Hall. Level 4. Foyer.

Black or White?
In conclusion, E&Me programme brings the arts closer to its cardholders. It is a special pass to go behind the scenes, experience the arts and a way to support the arts.

Based on my distillation of the information during the exclusive evening experience of E&Me programme, the card offers discounts only on tickets for selected programmes at Esplanade. Tickets to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's regular concerts will not be considered as one of the selected programmes that are eligible for the E&Me savings privileges.

Benefits of White Card.

The White Card will be suitable for most people especially anyone who wishes to attend at least five events under most of Esplanade's Festival & Series in a year.

Benefits of Black Card.

The Black Card will be suitable for people who wish to receive special invitations to private events and premieres that are only opened to Black Card holders. However, the Black Card may not be relevant to everyone. Before signing for any of the E&Me card, it helps to refer to this site: to have a good gauge of the events that only the Black Card holders can have access to. If that event that is only meant for Black Card holders is not enticing enough, it may be more relevant and cost-effective to apply for the White Card.

A Personal Guide To Esplanade, and a postcard of the Esplanade Concert Hall.
These were given during the start of the tour of Esplanade.

Will E&Me work for you?
I have shared about my exclusive evening experience of the E&Me programme and I have signed up for one of the cards. Will E&Me be relevant for you?

If you are still undecided, you could find out more about it here:

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