The year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of Chongqing Grand Theatre Children’s Philharmonic Choir. The Concert for Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Chongqing Grand Theatre Children’s Philharmonic Choir was recently staged at Chongqing Grand Theater. Hearty rounds of applause filled the fully-occupied hall.
The choir was established in May 2012. It is the first choir named “Philharmonic” and also the first authorized, large-scale, organized children’s choir in Chongqing. Members are mainly primary and secondary school students aged between 3 and 17 from the city. They receive professional choral training on weekends and in their spare time.
The choir has performed many classics at Chongqing Grand Theater with top-notch ensembles. For example, in 2013, it had friendly exchanges with the famous Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus at Chongqing Grand Theater and attended the 13th Taipei International Choral Festival at the invitation of the Taipei Philharmonic Chorus.
Not long after the semester started in 2016, Liu Man, Director of Chongqing Grand Theatre Children’s Philharmonic Choir, introduced a set of music education courses for children from Taiwan. The faculty then received corresponding training. Later, music theory, phonation, and other knowledge were embedded in games based on children’s physical and psychological characteristics.
The other focuses of choral training include the development of concentration, teamwork awareness, listening, and cooperation. “When I learned singing, all I wanted was to highlight my skills. But now, I have to consider the choir. My intonation, tone, tempo, and even body movements must be coordinated with others,” said Zhou Yanyan, a Lijia Experimental Primary School student. She thought choral training grew her teamwork spirit.
The choir sometimes invited renowned conductors and musicians from China and other countries to offer vocal guidance to children. By performing with musicians, the members have seen remarkable improvements in stage performance and singing skills. As a result, they became more interested and confident in music.
During the past ten years, the choir organized study tours in cities such as Vienna and Sochi and obtained several national and international awards. Especially in 2017, it won Gold Award at Group D, the highest-level group of China Children’s Choral Festival, reputed as Academy Awards in the children’s choral singing sector in China, and was awarded Best Conductor and Best Piano Accompaniment. As a rising star in the domestic and international arena, the choir unveils a new strand of Chongqing to the world.
The past decade saw new choirs in primary and secondary schools, many of which carried off prizes at home and abroad. At the same time, a growing number of parents support children to be a member of a choir.
“Children’s choirs in Chongqing should search for better teachers and courses, encourage more kids to engage in choral singing, and make solid progress in music fundamental education for children,” said Deng Zhuorui, a young conductor.
Liu Guangyu, Chairman of Chongqing Musicians Association, is optimistic about the future of children’s choral singing in Chongqing. He said, “A city needs cultural diversity. Chongqing is at a stage of rapid development, expansive choral exchanges, and a fast increase of choirs on campus. However, China lacks works for children’s choirs, and how to create such works with characteristics of Chongqing is a top priority. We should also figure out how to truly integrate the art of music with the city’s culture.”
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