Budding Hong Kong and mainland musicians join for SummerFest concert

Organised by the Haw Par Music Foundation and the Music For Our Youth Foundation, the performance aims to combine talents from the east and the west, and help restore a city treasure in the process.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 5:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 7:10pm

Young musicians from Hong Kong and mainland China will band together for one grand performance this weekend.

Students from Haw Par SummerFest 2016 will team up with the Music for Our Young Foundation’s (MOY) combined orchestra and dozens of talented musicians from Xinfeng county in Guangdong for this year’s Third Haw Par SummerFest.

Sunday’s the performance at Sheung Wan Civic Centre Theatre marks the culmination of this year’s SummerFest – a six-day training camp for 10 to 16 year-olds run by the Haw Par Music Foundation.

“Our interests intersect in many ways,” Roger Wu Tsan-sum, chief executive of Haw Par Music Foundation, said. “We both have a real focus on combining music from east and west, and also promoting access to music for all.”

The combined group of musicians includes 32 youngsters from Xinfeng county in Guangdong who were invited to join by Gordon Siu Kwing-chue, founder of MOY.

“Xinfeng is the source of Dongjiang River, which is our major water supply,” Siu said.

“The city, of just 400,000, has been kept underdeveloped to stay pollution-free. And that is a sacrifice for which I hope we can express our gratitude for through this concert.”

According to Siu, just 10 budding musicians from Xinfeng were originally supposed to be joining the MOY for Sunday’s performance. However, with many more turning up to the audition process in May, he said it was impossible to choose.

“I didn’t expect so many awaiting us, and they were all so prepared and eager. After the third applicant, I stopped the session and said to them, ‘you all come’,” he said.

“Having our young musicians with their western and Chinese instruments perform alongside their mainland counterparts is a very simple way to say thank you.”

Of the 32 musicians from Xinfeng, 26 will be playing the guzheng or Chinese zither, and six will play the pipa, an oval-shaped pluck instrument.

“I hope they rehearse. If there’s chaos on stage, it’d be my fault,” Siu laughed.

The string orchestra will perform Disney music and a new work titled Harmony, which was specially written by renowned composer Chan Wing-wah for the young musicians.

“It’s important for them to play in harmony and more importantly they communicate and interact in harmony, something the world is lacking now,” Chan said.

With funding from Standard Chartered Hong Kong, the SummerFest project was developed in 2014 by the Haw Par Music Foundation to provide music education to young people with expert mentorship in the run-up to restoration works at the Haw Par Mansion in Tai Hang.

With $165 million approved by the Legislative Council in April, the Hong Kong government’s Revitalising Historic Buildings scheme aims to open the Haw Par Music Farm at the historic 1930s mansion by 2018.