By Kitty Wong
The Shun Hing College Schola Cantorum. ‘The name “Schola Cantorum” is originated from the medieval singing school for church choristers, where students with singing ability can also receive general education. With the idea of music education as an indispensable part of whole person development, the Schola fosters intercultural exchange and is comprised of members from a wide range of cultural and academic backgrounds.
“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!”
This is an ironic line to be heard from an English major postgraduate, who is interested in language and literature so much that one devotes oneself to Sisyphean reading and writing.
These are also the lyrics of “Show me” from My Fair Lady, which I sung in my debut in the Premiere concert of Shun Hing College Schola Cantorum, a mixed-voiced chamber choir based at Shun Hing College, Jockey Club Student Village III of the University of Hong Kong.
Parade for the Inauguration of the Jockey Club
Student Village III (formerly known as Residential Colleges).
It was in the days when I found myself most lost in words that I found my voice in the Schola. As I was off from work and mindlessly wandered around the residential colleges one day, I spotted the word “Vienna”, a place where I—and every music lover—have longed to be, from the recruitment poster of the newly founded Schola Cantorum. That moment seized me. Serendipity has led a diffident me the courage to sign up, pass the audition, get into the choir and perform on stage.
Performing in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein.
My dream came true as the choir made the first tour to Vienna in summer 2014 and won the Bronze Award in the Fifth International World Peace Choral Festival. Not only did our choir perform in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, our members also received guidance from the former Kapellmeister of Vienna Boys Choir, Andy Icochea. This musical journey has turned out to be my Bildung, wherein I discovered a passionate part of me that I never knew existed had I not joined the Schola. Diversity can mean divergence, but I have experienced the otherwise—harmony in differences.
With the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
My research touches upon translation. Whether or not translation is, as Walter Benjamin famously argues, a constructive afterlife of the original, the translation gap is inevitable. One and a half years of research experience has taught me to be a critical thinker, and more importantly, granted me a humble heart with all the aporias that scholars have failed to answer throughout the centuries. Where words fail, music speaks. The sound that lies within the realm of negative capability is the most beautiful.
I sing. And I now know why the caged bird sings—the most beautifully.
Photo taken after annual concert 2014.