Choir hits the big notes for needy children

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 December, 2006, 12:00am

Morgan Stanley singers rake in HK$1 million for Caritas project with 20-minute money-spinning medley

Morgan Stanley chiefs raised about HK$50,000 a minute singing for Operation Santa Claus, as well as entertaining hundreds of shoppers in the One IFC building.

The 50 members of the Morgan Stanley Directors Choir raised more than HK$1 million in 20 minutes serenading shoppers from the stage of the Atrium with a medley of carols and songs.

'Morgan Stanley has once again shown its commitment to the community. The interest and the enthusiasm has grown,' said Alasdair Morrison, the merchant bank's chairman, noting that a successful year in business had contributed to the bumper totals for Operation Santa Claus this year.

'2006 has been a very busy and prolific year for investment banking. Shoppers are clearly coming in again, which is good to see for a prosperous 2007,' he said.

Last Friday's performance featured guest soloist Irene Chang, who flew in from Taiwan to sing Christmas classics including Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. She works in private wealth management.

Conductor Matthew Collingwood, who is a member of the Hong Kong Singers but is usually to be found in the infrastructure department at Morgan Stanley, was effusive in his praise of the choir. 'We're getting better every year,' he mumbled from behind a Santa beard.

Every year Morgan Stanley creates an internal website with a list of the directors. With the click of a mouse, employees can make a sponsorship pledge. As the pledges grow, so does the rivalry between departments. 'There's quite a competitive spirit,' said corporate communications vice-president Stefanie Fischer, who said fund-raising was organised by the head of the charity committee, Vincent Chui.

Helping the directors sing were some of their children and youngsters from the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children.

'Helping underprivileged children is one of Morgan Stanley's charity themes,' Ms Fischer said. 'So this year we are committed to the Caritas Youth and Community Service Life Enhancement Programme for Deprived Children [one of the projects of Operation Santa Claus].