Monday, 5 March 2012

Ivor Gurney and Pumpkin Soup

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The school motto at today's venue. My assistant said it meant something like,
Honesty and Hard Work make a Good Person. Sounds a good motto !

It is the end my second Monday and I am back at the favourite CafeO, where I need to record that officially I have just eaten the most beautiful soup I have ever tasted in my life. It was Pumpkin and Ginger with fresh herbs. A richer, tastier more zingy bowlful it would be hard to find in the Eastern world, and probably the Western world! It was served with a slice of herb bread and came to the princely sum of $HK28, around £1.45. I am so happily replete that my day, in a primary school only about 4 miles from mainland China has faded into a soft focus memory !

I had another round of Ivor Gurney today, the Under the Greenwood Tree 14 year olds again. Today was mostly of a poorer standard and there were even 3 or 4 girls who were very unprepared. This is the first time I have met this problem since I began over a week ago. Even the less good voices have all been thoroughly well practised, and knew the notes and words more than adequately. I actually had two young ladies of 14 who could not get through the song, and even worse, giggled at their friends and partners in crime in the audience. This did not go down well with other teachers and my assistant, and was clearly very unusual behaviour ! The looks from said adults would have felled a charging elephant !

On the plus side I heard around 6 girls all from one school and thus one teacher I assume, who we're terrific! They sang with style, confidence and a real understanding of the Shakespeare text. They even had a cantonese version of Middy vowel shapes ! The TH sound still evades them somewhat, but there were some valiant efforts, but it is clearly so difficult for them to use the tip of he tongue.

It is clear proof that a teaching sound is instantly recognisable, and I asked the group of girls who all wanted the obligatory photo with Mrs Big (in more ways than one you understand) at the end of the competition, to pass on my congratulations to their talented teacher. I would have been proud to put my name to them !

Praise indeed !

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