2011年5月17日 星期二

110517Tu occasional drizzle: A Concert More Than I can Expect

i carry your heart with me

by Edward Estlin Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Invited to a all-female concert last Friday. Courtesy of a friend and her family.

Very unassuming in appearance for a high-powered cultural event. An out of the way venue with a minimalist setting. (albeit on the street where I lived when I came to Hong Kong in 1957.) Little stage setup. Minimal sound effects. And no costume. Cramped in folding chairs, the audience was maybe smaller than the number of performers.

I am a music illiterate but have heard about the legend of these 'wonder girls' for a long time, always wanted to see how good they are.

Luck finally strikes. They rounded up all the annual music prizes among their peers but the meager venue they have been using for the last two years is coming to an end. Although long the ‘Manchester United’ in their league, receiving prizes is routine, a clean sweep in a year I guese is unique. I don’t remember if MU has done that. To celebrate this year’s achievement and say goodbye to the music factory which has nurtured them, a summer concert was given, presenting the works they call pride.

It is my closest encounter with performers ever (except once in a small theater accommodating about 20 people). May be because of some misunderstanding, I was sitting in the first row, separated from the orchestra only by a narrow passage for people to pass. The conductor was about five feet from me and the first violin about three. I could almost hear them breathe. When the members of the orchestra changed seating, I sometimes leaned to one side in my chair so that celloists could transport their instruments pass me with some ease.

But under such conditions, the concert was one of the best I have ever had. It made me see the power of music, how it touches and changes people even if one does not know what it means, not understand a word they sing. I have been to performances of monumental works like Beethoven’s No. 9, Handel’s Messiah by big name orchestras and choruses from the West but have never felt this way. May be this is the difference between professionals who do a job and amateurs who perform with a heart.

No less important, seeing my hosts perform, I no longer doubt about Hong Kong having young talents as well as happy youths with the right mind. I can understand that these 300 some young women are Hong Kong’s cream of the crop. But they remind me that we should not let news make us to believe that our youths deteriorate from one generation to another and now only those fighting the establishment in front of news cameras are worth mentioning while those feel happy are simply too naïve too help the society for any good. One can be talented and happy and concerned at the same time. I am sure these women will make a difference in the next 20-30 years.

May be the audience was not able to follow the lyrics as closely and may be we don't have the communal feeling these girls have for each other, the music moved members of the choir more than we. They were so immersed in their music, enjoying it so much that quite a number of them wept as they sang. I have never seen such emotional yet touching performance anywhere. The closest thing may be friends singing in Karaokes after a few drinks.

I have always felt that in their work Hong Kong people are only good to the extent they deliver what they are paid for. But otherwise, we are too shrewed to be dedicated to any particular job. We are professionals, working with expertise, but in order to be most prosperous, carefully separating job with the love for excellence. We avoid throwing in our dedication, afraid that we may be one day bogged down by a single job or skill. Very few of us are proud of what we do and strive for perfection, not just for the money and status. We work with our body, at most with the logical part of our brain, but save our hearts and minds for private consumption.

The DGS performers last Friday is the first large group in Hong Kong I saw which pulls in all their hearts and minds on stage. If we can learn from them, dedicate ourselves to a worthy cause and enjoy it, complain less and concern more, Hong Kong can change.

You may wonder why I said nothing about what the girls performed. As I said, I know nothing about music, in no position to comment on the program except to say, I don’t remember going to a more enjoyable concert. It is much more than I can expect.

But after seeing so many happy and talented young women, I do have one doubt. As a journalist, I wonder if Hong Kong would be able to offer them what they want and deserve. If not, we would lose them.

One video on YouTube shows the girls waving a Hong Kong SAR flag and chanting the Chinese national anthem heartily after returning to Hong Kong winning some trophy somewhere. Where will these girls be five years from now?

Right on and good luck, DGS girls. 世界是你們的。

No matter where you go, "Carry our heart with you" and "Stand Together" just as you sang.

Finally, I thank my hosts who brought me and my wife to the concert, especially our young host Florence who also performed.

In addition to music illiteracy, I have many doubts writing in English which is simply not my expertise. But to salute them, just will have to go the hard way.

And please to correct whatever mistakes there may be in this piece. Leave me a message. And I will amend it.

And, if you know of pictures taken that evening showing the performance, i would like to post a few.

1 則留言:

匿名 提到...

Right on, Tsui, for letting music into your heart, for saluting our DGS girls, and for wirting in your beautiful English! More of the same in the future, please!