The Wah Yan Junior Boy’s Choir won four awards at the International Youth Music Festival in Bratislava, Slovakia last week, after making sacrifices such as forgoing cold and sugary drinks.
The choir scooped up gold diplomas for their performances in two categories. They scored an impressive 95.33 out of 100 in the Musica Sacra category, and also scored 94.66 out of 100 in the Under 16s Boy’s Choir category.
The choir is made up of students from both Wah Yan Colleges in Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island. They also won two other special prizes in the tournament: the team claimed the Best Choral Performance, while Vitas Li Kai-yuen, 13, from Wah Yan College (Kowloon), received the award of Excellent Piano Accompaniment.
Mark Loh, the Music Head at Wah Yan College in Wan Chai, said they didn’t expect these brilliant results. “The great performance meant our time and effort paid off,” Loh said. “We only had limited time to practise before the competition because they had to manage their studies. The practice and rehearsals could only take place when they finished their classes and exams. We only started our formal training in June so the results came as a great surprise.”
Loh said the students had to show a lot of discipline in order to have such a strong showing. For example, they were banned from drinking anything cold or sweet before the competition.
He praised the choir’s performance in Slovakia. “They didn’t have any experience of participating in such a large-scale international event before, so they can get nervous easily. We had only targeted silver diplomas in some categories. But it turned out they did well and we were impressed by their great results.”
“Everyone was extremely happy when they heard the results,” Loh exclaimed.
It has been a busy summer for the choir, having also competed at the World Youth and Children’s Choir Festival held in Hong Kong earlier this July. They were the first runners-up in the Under 16s category at that tournament. The choir also showcased their talents at several music festival in Europe last month.