2008 World Youth Choir

Travelling to and fro Hong Kong International Airport and Chinese University 8 times a day; getting along with 81 singers from 33 different countries and regions; hearing and singing “Happy Birthday” in 28-part-harmony; spending over 2 hours over the phone everyday for more than 30 days; staying in a 6-star hotel ― this is a brief summary of my experiences with the World Youth Choir 2008 in a month.
The manager of the choir, Vladimir from Serbia arrived at Hong Kong on 13 July. During the next 29 days, besides recording an album, the Choir gave 10 public performances at 6 different locations, including Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Concert Hall, AsiaWorld Expo and Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall. The Choir brought surprising, passionate, enthusiastic and stunning performances to more than 11,000 audiences. 
I am a full-time arts administrator of a music company in Hong Kong. Thanks to my company for allowing me to involve in this project. Being a choir member since I was 12, World Youth Choir is one of the most disciplined choirs that I have ever seen. The Choir members rehearsed for an average of 7 hours a day for the first 2 weeks. Even though they might be busy for socialising in the evening, they always managed to sing in their best conditions in the morning of the next day.
Their discipline and their pursuance of excellence touched me. I remember that after a few days of practices, a number of singers, especially sopranos, developed sore throats due to hot weather and diet difference. One girl with sore throat did not perform well in a rehearsal. She was also worried that she wouldn’t recover before solo auditions. Burst into tears, she was so frustrated and ran out of the rehearsal hall. The soprano part leader Anita ran after her immediately. Anita comforted her by sharing her past experiences with the Choir that pressurised and intensive training schedule had always affected the performances of choir members in the past.
“It is not easy to find choir members with both the passion for music and the talent. But you can find both of them in World Youth Choir”, a local conductor said. So true it is: I think anyone who has heard them before would agree with this comment. They are young and energetic; they can sing and jam anywhere, anytime. They sang for a café owner at Chinese University, the staff of the Grand Hyatt Guangzhou to thank them for their hospitality, and a children’s choir after its performance. Whenever they sang, they sang with their hearts and at their best. 
After all the rehearsals, sightseeing and performances on 11 August, it was a sad time for home. Saying goodbye at the hotel, all the choir members and volunteers were crying. I missed everybody. I was so glad that we had such a great team of volunteers – Wing, Connie, Elaine, Chili, Sunny, Eric, Renee, Wendy, and of course the usual gang of Treble Choirs’ Association: Swan, Mandy, Simon, Jason, Kasta and Edward. Although they were young and inexperienced, their passion and smiles brought us hopes at hard times. We still closely keep via Facebook now!. 
May I express my deepest gratitude to Mr. Brian Li, the project manager who has just left Treble Choirs’ Association. He is fearless and smart. It was my pleasure to work with him. Last but not least, thank Mr. Leon Shui-wai Tong for overcoming all obstacles and bringing us 2008 World Youth Choir. We should respect his persistence for and commitments to choral music.  
I am sure that 2008 World Youth Choir is not an end, but rather a beginning for further cultural exchanges among all the participants. I am so honoured to have been a part of it.
Celia Ka-yee Leung
Project Manager for WYC 2008


2008 World Youth Choir Performance Schedule
17th July
Performance for 2008 HKIYCCF Finalists’ Night Concert at Hong Kong Cultural Center
18th July
Performance for “World Sing For Olympics” Concert at Asia World Expo
27th July
Performance at Pakkau College
31st July
Performance at Guangzhou Children’s Palace
1st Aug
Performance at Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou
2nd Aug
Performance at Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou
5th Aug
Performance at Santa Rosa Girls’ College of Macau
8th Aug
Performance in Opening Ceremony for equestrianism in the Olympic Games
9th Aug
Performance at Hong Kong Cultural Centre
10th Aug
Performance at Hong Kong Cultural Centre