It is 9.20am and I am sitting back at the adjudicating desk. The same desk as I used in the same Place and in the same venue for my very last class of the 2012 festival. So it seem like full circle. The tiny 5 and 6 year old children are being arranged into their allotted seats with never so much as a cry or a shout, they are smiley, happy and seemingly raring to go !
And so am I ! 18 tiny boys and girls singing the sweetest performances of Anna Marie, that stalwart song of the Purple Book. These mites of course are 'Singing in a Foreign Language' - which is always humbling on one's first day. I can not manage a word or even a syllable of Cantonese, yet they sing even with lively movements, matching the words, and seeming to understand the simple sentiment of this little Dutch Folksong - well I think it is Dutch ! What a tremendous start to the working day.
The rest of my morning was filled with 33 under 13's singing the lovely Ira Gershwin My Ship from Lady in the Dark. Rather a grown up sentiment in the song, but the melody is quite within the range of a good 13 year old. There were some good performances, but once again the high standard and sheer vocal quality of the girls in the dark blue and grey uniform of the Diocesan Girls School shone like a beacon. They must have some fine singing teachers - even the primary division children are clearly so used to performing with supreme confidence that many of the other schools and areas don't get a proverbial look in. Today the placings went the way of the DGS, but another teacher was showing hints of challenging them in professionalism and tone quality. That will be exciting to watch.
I sit, feet propped up on a chair having eaten by packed lunch and hoping for a brain rest before 37 performances of Roger Quilter's Over the Mountains, after lunch at 2.15.
Never a truer word
"Over the mountains and over the waves......" that's how far we adjudicators have all travelled to get here, to survive the work and hear these young musicians from another world.
Onwards and upwards.
The hall of the SKH Church in Sha tin in the Eastern New Territories