Extracurricular activities

Chengdu festival offers a musical first for IFT players

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The IFT Chamber Music Club is spreading its wings – musically – beyond Macao. The ensemble took part in the 2016 Chengdu International Sister Cities Youth Music Festival this summer. It was a first for the club to be invited to such a significant international event.

“We were overwhelmed by the size and diversity of performers,” says Ms. Hilda Fok, club member and IFT Lecturer. Ms. Fok was the driving force behind the establishment of the ensemble in 2014. “We had never faced such a large stage and crowd before,” she says. “Our performing skills have improved, thanks to this opportunity.”

The festival took place between 27 July and 2 August in Chengdu, in Sichuan Province. More than 500 musicians and artists from over 30 countries and regions attended. Apart from the IFT ensemble, groups from the University of Macau and from the Macao Polytechnic Institute flew the flag for Macao at the event.

The festival has been held every year since 2007. It aims to promote cultural and artistic exchanges between Chengdu and its sister cities, and other cities it has friendly ties with.

The IFT Chamber Music Club presented 3 pieces at the festival. One, entitled “Beethoven Inc”, features arrangements by composer Richard Meyer. “Brazilian Sleigh Bells”, a second piece, is by Canadian arranger, conductor and composer Percy Faith.

The ensemble played at 2 venues in Chengdu: on the open-air stage at Eastern Suburb Memorial Park and in the historical Long Tan Watery Region. “Many audience members were moved by our music, and some were dancing during our performances,” Ms. Fok says. “After these 2 successful performances, we have gained a lot more confidence as musicians.”

Sights and sounds

“Apart from our rehearsals and performances, we also had the opportunity to learn more about Chengdu,” Ms. Fok says. “During the week, we visited the Exhibition Hall of Chengdu’s International Sister Cities and the newly opened Chengdu Museum.” The ensemble did some sightseeing, visiting several of the city’s landmarks such as the Dujiangyan irrigation system, and its historical streets such as Jinli and Zhai Xiangzi. “One of the highlights was going to the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where we saw some newly born pandas,” Ms. Fok says.

Another purpose of the IFT Chamber Music Club’s attendance at the Chengdu festival was to promote exchanges with other young musicians. Club members had the opportunity to interact with rockers from Finland, meet dancers from India, talk to singers from Australia and listen to a guitarist from Israel, among other things. The event even helped the IFT ensemble to forge stronger links with fellow musicians from Macao. “We had the opportunity to spend a few hours with the a cappella singers from Macao Polytechnic Institute. They taught us how to make music without instrumental accompaniment,” Ms. Fok recalls.

“We hope to use this experience to help expand our club and attract new members,” she says. “This event has helped more people, particularly young musicians from Macao, to get to know about the IFT Chamber Music Club and create a positive image for IFT,” Ms. Fok adds. “We believe this was an invaluable opportunity and we hope to be invited again next year.”

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