The Choir

is a whopping jewel

in Clare's musical


Giles Swayne, Composer-in-Residence


Asia Tour Blog - Day 3

Date: Monday 05 September 2016 11.15am


Hong Kongers can sing

All things bright and beautiful,

Clare Benediction.


Sunday the 4th of September was the first opportunity for most of the choir to sleep in, thus leading to a situation in which a ragtag group of bright eyed and bushy tailed individuals, as well as some who had obviously enjoyed the prior evening a little too much, met in the lobby of the Mariners’ Club, excited to be performing in the first official concert of the tour. 


After a rather exuberant bus ride along the perilous slopes of Hong Kong, which may have challenged the suspension on the vehicle a little too much, we arrived at Hong Kong University. Unlike the aged buildings that we were used to in Cambridge, the modern architecture of the university was rather striking. Floor to ceiling windows were abundant, as well as their own private security guards, thus creating a rather novel atmosphere which the choir soon grew used to. 


After navigating the various arrays of escalators and halls, we arrived in the concert hall to see a beaming Graham Ross, wearing his Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra T-shirt from 2006 (some people really do need to let go of the past…), welcoming us into our first large venue of the tall. The acoustics of the room were such that it took quite some getting used to, for the choir as a whole, but particularly for the second basses. No longer would we be able to use the echoes and reverberations of ancient buildings to aid our timbre, but instead a much more upfront and personal sound was required. This was rather challenging to start off with, as some pieces that require pinpoint accuracy, such as Bach’s ‘Der Geist hilft’, can be incredibly difficult when performing in unfamiliar waters. 


We were soon joined by the Hong Kong University Singers, with whom we sang Rutter’s ‘A Clare Benediction’, and ‘All things bright and beautiful’ (and to whom we dedicate the above Haiku), who were a welcome addition to the choir. After a rather filling lunch that was provided by the university, and after undergoing the various pre-concert rituals, the concert was performed without issue. In particular, Harris’ ‘Faire is the heaven’ was appreciated by the audience, which was just as well considering the fact that that was the titled piece of the concert.  


After a quick stop off at the hotel, and a ferry across the Pier 9, the choir embarked on an evening of nice food and great conversation upon a boat. Without wanting to rock the boat by forcing a couple of puns upon you, the evening was quite unexpected and we are exceedingly grateful for Christine for truly pushing the boat out on this evening’s ventures. Sights included Stanley bay and the Hong Kong harbour area, and the breathtaking views of the skyline and Hong Kong at night were truly incredible.


After a quick nightcap at the bar, it was time for the choir to fall into Morpheus’ sweet embrace, for the free morning the following day had much to promise in the form of various sightseeing walks and excursions.


But more on that later, for now, byeeeeee


Gregles and Beej