Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Sailor's Song by Haydn and 12 Tenors

The YMCA Hallway

A Beautiful Sculpture at the YMCA Entrance

This is the middle of my second week and i am beginning to feel the exhaustion my colleagues who have done this before told me would happen! I fell asleep at 8pm last night with the BBC World News still playing on the TV and they were still ploughing on with the news when I awoke this morning!

I was at a YMCA Lifelong Learning Centre yesterday which was an amazing place, and I had the most wonderful Assistants who (for the first time in HK)kept plying me with lovely tea, sometimes English Breakfast and sometimes Chinese Jasmine. It was so refreshing and made such a difference to the dynamic of the day! The white porcelain cup and saucer was a beautiful swirling and curved design, and I felt as though I was in an expensive restaurant!

The Assistants, or Stewards as we call them at UK Festivals, are on the whole utterly efficient in every respect of the desk work, and a feast of information with regards to places to eat locally, and where the best shopping can be found, along with translating and helping with pronunciations of the singers names. I have to say my cantonese is non existent, but my ability to pronounce the English written names is improving by the day.

The weather has hotted up somewhat, in the last few days it has been around 26 or 27 degrees with 80% humidity. This means that most of we Westerners are dripping until we arrive at our venue and the air conditioning kicks in. My driver this evening told me that when he was a boy in school there was no air con, or even a ceiling fan until the 60's. He said that learning was very difficult, and school started at 7am and ended at lunchtime from May to November.

Nowadays all schools use a full day for the whole year, so even though they now have to work more hours, at least they do it in the comfort of a cool breeze!

I heard an amazing class of 12, 18 and under tenors who sang The Sailor's Song by Haydn. Understand that this was 1 group, in 1 venue, and I will hear another 3 groups. How many British counties could furnish an ajudicator with up to 45 young tenors!

The song is fast and furious and all about Britain's Glory at Sea! Very incongrous, and a bit colonial, but boy these chaps sang with gusto and fire! I heard 5 lads from the same school who must have an excellent teacher. It was a pure joy to adjudicate them with all the detail I would use at a music school in the West, and these singers are singing in a foreign language.

I was hard put to choose the winner, and I am under no circumstances whatsoever, allowed to tie, so that means some cruel decisions, and those decisions based on the smallest of differences.

I had a ball, and gave the young men a short masterclass on abdominal breathing! They were such fun to work with, and so appreciative of any knowledge.

What with the regular tea and the plethora of tenors, what more could I want ?! (except more sleepzzzzzzzzzz).

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