Jian Wang (王紀言) was Official Photographer of Hong Kong’s 2018 Belt & Road World Choir Festival. Here, he tells Chorally why he loves working with children’s choirs.
I’m fond of the sound of children singing – Angelic Voices in the Air. Pure and innocent, it feels like the world is moving along with them.
I once used a Hong Kong comic artist’s piece to depict children’s voices, with the folklore from my home, the Oronqo.
I’m singing on the mountain. The mountain is held in awe.
I’m singing in the woods. The woods are laughing.
I’m singing in the stream. The stream is dancing.
I particularly like taking photos of singing children. Lively, energetic, stunning, moving. They find joy in music and singing. Through the lens, all of them are born-to-be musicians.
The 2018 Belt & Road World Choir Festival
Once again, I am the Official Photographer of the 2018 Belt & Road World Choir Festival. It is my job to take photos for the children.
Hong Kong is the stage of this international choral carnival for 3,000 participants in 48 teams from 16 nations.
Artistic Director, Professor Leon Shiu-wai Tong, and I share the same goal. He spares no effort in promoting children’s choral music around the world. After decades of hard work and perseverance, he still has this determined yet innocent look on his face.
As someone who works in the media industry, I am ashamed of the fact that children’s choral music never earns the attention from Hong Kong media. There’s only us, Phoenix TV, attending and covering this year’s festival.
Nevertheless, we are lucky to have Ms Chow Ying-chi as the Master of the Opening Ceremony. Experienced and professional. The little angels fly freely on stage with her hosting the Ceremony and Concert.
Ponomaryov VESNA Children’s Choir
Ponomaryov VESNA Children’s Choir is one of the performing choirs at this year’s Concert.
They won the Grand Prix at the 27th International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hungary, in 2016 and also the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in 2017.
Their music melts your heart and warms your soul. Grasses and flowers bloom in the midst of their voices.
Angelic Voices in the Air
Listening to the children singing – Angelic Voices in the Air – is a journey to rediscover the long-lost notes in the grown-up world. The melody leads us home and guides us in pursuit of inspiration.
Why are children’s voices this moving? Because they are like children themselves, sweet, genuine and pure.
It feels like my heart and soul take a deep breath every time I hear a child sing. We need this kind of deep breath in today’s world.
Teachers and conductors
During the Festival, I take a lot of pictures of the teachers and conductors. They are dedicated, passionate, patient and full of love and joy.
I have great respect for these motivating teachers, the guardians of these little angels. They inspire children to present their unique voice. Not only do they teach the children to sing but also pass on the legacy of arts, culture and life.
Choirs from near and far
It’s a shame that no ethnic groups are taking part in this year’s Festival. I once brought two choirs, Quinquefoil Multi-gentilitial Children’s Choir and Kashgar Fantasy Choir, from remote areas to Hong Kong. Their rare music from far away touched everyone’s heart deeply.
It’s also a pity that no artist or movie star was involved in this Festival. Years ago, Mr Jackie Chan once joined hands with the children on this same stage, sharing music together.
Someone once said, ‘For children, the power of onstage performance is strong enough to last a lifetime’. May our children enjoy the stage and share their lovely voices with the world. This magical gift will nurture more and more delightful angels.
Header photo: Angelic Voices in the Air © Jian Wang/Belt & Road World Choir Festival
About the author
Jian Wang (王紀言) was Official Photographer of Hong Kong’s 2018 Belt & Road World Choir Festival.
Organised by the World Youth and Children Choral Artists Association (WYCCAA), the Festival ran from 15-19 July 2018 at Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Tsuen Wan Town Hall and Sha Tin Town Hall.