SOCIETY

Sing your heart out: 7-year-old Hong Kong girl steals spotlight at city's National Day reception

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 October, 2015, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 October, 2015, 12:01am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s speech is usually the focal point of the city’s annual National Day reception, but this year it was an unusual guest performer who stole the spotlight: seven-year-old singer Celine Tam Tsz-kwan.

Shortly before the reception started at 8.30am today, an orchestra performed an excerpt of the birthday song, and Tam dressed in white, captivated attendees by singing the musical group Secret Garden’s hit You Raise Me Up, followed by Hong Kong Canto-pop band Beyond’s Truly Love You, and patriotic mainland song My Motherland.

Celine Tam Tsz-kwan sings My Motherland on mainland television

As Tam sang before about a thousand guests, including Leung, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, and Beijing’s liaison office director Zhang Xiaoming, she remembered all the lyrics and hit the high notes with apparent ease. After the poised seven-year-old was done, the audience erupted with applause.

READ MORE: Be more understanding of China, Hong Kong chief executive urges city's politicians and young people

After the reception, Celine’s father, Steve Tam, a 44-year-old music teacher who owns two singing academies, revealed that it was Leung who extended an invitation for the girl to perform.

In fact, video clips of Celine performing in singing contests or shows hosted by various mainland television stations have been widely viewed on YouTube.

"We rehearsed for 30 hours for the performance today. It was 10 hours for each song," Tam said, referring to the collaboration with the orchestra.

Tam also said he has been teaching singing to children and adults for the last three decades. He has taught Celine the last four years.

He said she started when she was three, and began to rack up trophies at age four. “Now she has won eight championships in the mainland, including the latest one in a singing contest in Guangzhou with 3,000 children from around the country,” he noted.

But when asked whether he believes Celine will become a pop star or have her own record, Tam was non-committal, saying: “I hope she can take part in a musical because that can help her to learn more and see more.”

Tam added that Celine has a younger sister who is about 18 months old. He said he was not sure whether he will train her to sing as well.