I was recently honoured and privileged to be invited to attend the Asia Pacific Choral Summit in Hong Kong 2019 as a presenter and adjudicator.
This event, held from 21 to 24 July 2019, was an initiative of the Hong Kong Children’s Choir, organised as part of celebrations to mark this famous choir’s 50th anniversary.
The Hong Kong Children’s Choir
The Hong Kong Children’s Choir (HKCC) was founded in 1969 as the first children’s choir in Hong Kong. Over the last 50 years the choir has grown into a diversified arts organisation and is now the biggest choir in the world with over 5,000 members. Under the supervision of Kathy Fok, the current Music Director and Principal Conductor, and more than 100 professional tutors, choir members not only develop their artistic talents, but also learn the importance of team spirit. HKCC is invited to perform overseas each year, spreading the message of love and peace in different parts of the world. At home, the choir actively participates in a wide variety of local charitable events; collaborations with world-renowned musicians and organisations; and appearances at historical events.
The Asia Pacific Choral Summit
As part of celebrations to mark its Golden Jubilee, the Hong Kong Children’s Choir formulated the idea of a choral summit that would gather together, in Hong Kong, choral elites from across the Asia Pacific region. By providing an international platform for participants, the aim of the summit was to promote cultural exchange and artistic excellence.
The result was an unforgettable experience for all those who attended. With over 1600 participants, the summit was probably the largest choral music festival ever to take place in Hong Kong. The opportunity to hear so many choirs performing with so much enthusiasm, dedication and passion lifted my soul and renewed my belief in the power of music to inspire and to be be a force for good for our generation and for those to come.
My congratulations to everyone – organisers, volunteers, presenters, conductors, accompanists, choristers and guest performers – anyone who played a part in making the summit the outstanding success that it was. This was a celebration, at the highest level, of choral music in the Asia Pacific region.
During the summit I had the opportunity to present a reading session of selected works from the Choir Vivace series; a workshop session called “The Technical Tool Box for Conductors”; to adjudicate the Choral Summit Showcase; and to conduct an individual workshop session with the award winning Diocesan Girls Junior School Choir (9-12 year olds).
One of the real highlights for me, personally, was the opportunity to renew acquaintances with many dear friends and colleagues from the world of choral music and also to meet, for the first time, a number of new friends. It was also an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to interact with so many delightful, enthusiastic and happy young choristers from amongst the many outstanding youth and children’s choirs who participated in the summit.
The closing concert featured the exceptional talents of the Asia Pacific Youth Choir (with choristers from Asia and New Zealand) under the baton of the four finalists of the Hong Kong Choral Conducting Competition. Congratulations to all the finalists, who each brought their own style and interpretation to the set work and their own-choice piece.
It would be remiss of me not to say a very special ‘thank you’ to my friend and colleague Kathy Fok. My heartfelt thanks, Kathy, for the invitation to attend the Summit and for your very kind hospitality. And again, congratulations and thanks to you and all your amazing team for bringing to fruition a truely remarkable and memorable choral event. I have returned home inspired anew. I hope it is not too long before we have the opportunity to meet again.
To all my friends and colleagues in choral music – Keep Singing!