Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Children sign up for the sweet sound of music

Posted by Kimberly on June 19, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
June 19, 2007, page 4 (670 words)

Applications to join the Macau Cultural Centre’s (CCM) children’s choir closed yesterday, with the centre receiving a successful influx of new talent.
“We have not yet had the proper count yet but so far, around seven days ago, we had about 20. “Because our Music Director will be having the audition next week, we cannot yet talk about how many members are on the list,” said Ada Ho Ka Ian, Programming and Marketing spokeswoman for CCM.
The next stage will involve auditions of each applicant by CCM’s Music Director, Maria Vanessa Leao on June 24.
“I think she will take a close look at their potential and how they respond to music. They will have a basic testing on written exams, and how their voice reacts and so on,” said Miss Ho.
The choir currently holds 40 members who, in the past year, have not only travelled to Hong Kong but participated in the annual Christmas concert.
What we have on our agenda is the annual Christmas concert and from time to time we’ll try to make more exposure and see if there will be any special invitations that we think will be helpful for the choir,” said Miss Ho.
She added that plans for an exchange opportunity such as last year’s trip to Hong Kong will be on the agenda, although nothing concrete has been arranged yet.
“In the coming year we’re going to try going a bit further, we’ll be looking at some other Asian countries. We have a lot of things to take into consideration like the timing and the budget so we also need to see how our choir members respond to their progress,” said Miss Ho.
Last year’s collaboration with Les Choristes, France’s Saint-Marc’s Children’s Choir was an exciting opportunity for CCM’s group, allowing them to interact with and learn from them.
“We worked with the children’s choir, it’s a quite famous children’s choir and our choir members were quite excited for that project.
“They learnt a lot from them, the artistic aspects like the breathing, the technique. They also learnt a lot from their discipline such as the French children are not really allowed to drink soft drinks. “When they arrived we also arranged a rehearsal session with them, not only the time they were all working but also some cultural exchange time, to learn about each other and make friends.” said Miss Ho.
The Macau Cultural Centre’s Children’s Choir was established two years ago to provide quality music education to children aged 8 to 14.
Through weekly choral practices, music appreciation and creative activities, choir members develop their interests and talents in music, as well as their interpersonal skills and sensitivity to appreciate art.
The children rehearse for one two-hour session, every Sunday.
“Basic lessons are for two hours but if we are approaching any special events we will also have additional classes.
“Usually we will take some extra sessions prior to a performance like three or four sessions for two hours a few days before,” said Miss Ho.
The choir doesn’t specialise in any particular style, with the repertoire depending on the occasion.
“Mostly we will learn some light and easy songs, like Christmas songs. Some are folk, some are classical but we don’t particularly aim at special classical music such as religious ones or Handel. “We have a diverse repertoire to slot in with different performances. Sometimes we get an invitation from Chinese organisations so we may sing some Chinese folk songs as well,” said Miss Ho.
The centre encourages children to join as it provides them with the opportunity to create new friendships and cultivate skills beyond singing.
“Culturally, they may learn from each other. They can also learn to be more brave on stage, more calm and also they try to appreciate each other, listening to each other.
“They learn to patient and listen to the teacher, to be disciplined and learn cooperation with each other. So through singing I think they can learn different things,” said Miss Ho.

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