Miranda Yeung meets the divas-to-be who combine fun, laughs and music
Young, gorgeous, passionate and fun, the Kassia Youth Choir is promising an enjoyable, trilingual performance this coming Wednesday night at the Fringe Club.
Unlike the stereotyped choir, the Kassia Youth Choir allows members to relax and have a laugh - although perhaps this is a given as members are all girls aged between 13 and 18.
However, their laughter doesn't mean they're unprofessional. In fact, the choir has already made a name for themselves in the city. They have performed in prestigious venues such as Hong Kong City Hall and Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and were twice invited by TVB Jade to perform live with big stars like Eason Chan and Joey Yung.
'The most important element for a successful show is to relax, have fun and enjoy it,' says 14-year-old Nicole Corkhill from Island School.
The girls attend singing class once a week, but they have to take work home, too. Apart from the actual singing, they memorise lyrics to as many as 30 or 40 songs. But the biggest challenge can be language.
'We've done lots of foreign songs - Korean, Cantonese, Serbian, Italian, Indian, South African, Hebrew, Spanish, German and Philippine. It's cool to learn so many languages, and they're very useful when you go on holidays,' says Danielle Chupak, 15, from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College.
Clara Kim, a 15-year-old Korean from King George V school, says: 'Once I taught the group a Korean folk song which every Korean knows. When we performed the song, a group of Koreans really loved it.'
Laura Stones, 16, says the key to singing a foreign song is to 'focus on the pronunciation and make it sound realistic and local'.
At the upcoming performance, Divas in Training, the girls will sing 13 songs in English, Italian and Chinese. The show will be a mix of classics and pop, including numbers by Kelly Clarkson and Tina Turner.
Despite the relaxing atmosphere, Matthew Hale, instructor of Kassia Youth Choir, is prepared to push the girls when necessary.
'I usually pick the performance pieces a year ahead. I ask what the girls like, and they do sometimes give constructive ideas. But I also choose one or two challenging pieces to push them.
'In the choir, everyone is equal. It's true that some members are naturally gifted while some are not, and I cannot make [an average] singer sound amazing.
'However, what I try to do is to build up their experiences and confidence.'
And singing has made the girls all-round better musicians.
As Deanne Chuang of Canadian international School says: 'Now whenever I listen to a piece of music, I come up with a harmony instantly. It's as if I heard the harmony.'
Divas in Training: March 5, 8pm at the Fringe Club. Tickets cost HK120 (HK$160 for adults)