The Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir (HKWMVC), which stemmed from an impromptu singing of Welsh songs around the piano at the St David’s Society Annual Ball in 1977, has come a long way.
Scheduled to perform at the Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Campus this coming Sept. 30, the choir has steadily grown in scope and reputation since 1978.
Besides headlining more than 20 events in Hong Kong each year, they make annual visits to Thailand and the Philippines and have also performed around Asia in Mainland China, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Having performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House in Australia, their most favoured program – from traditional Welsh hymns and Mozart to modern renditions of ABBA and Queen – also features music in Latin, Chinese and even Swahili.
In a recent conversation with Music Press Asia about how the choir’s previous performance helped prepare for the upcoming concert, tour organiser Simon Clennell said: “In October 2012, we were invited to sing at the Great British Ball in KL, a massive event at the Shangri-La Hotel with more than 900 guests. It was a very enjoyable weekend. It’s difficult to compare it with this weekend’s trip which will be quite different in nature, as this time we’re performing at two educational establishments instead, namely Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) on Saturday afternoon (5:00 pm) and Koiej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ) in Mantin on Sunday evening (7:00pm).”
“The latter came about because our former Italian accompanist Enrico Millo is now Head of Music at KTJ. We’re also staying in Putrajaya this time, which is a new destination for most of us. So it will be a very different weekend from 2012, but we’re all very excited about it. We have 25 members making the trip, 10 of whom (including me) are ‘veterans’ from KL 2012.”
For Heriot-Watt, the choir will sing a mixture of Welsh, Scottish and English numbers, as well as one in Chinese – the Teresa Tang classic ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ which seems appropriate for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
“The Scottish pieces have been included to honour HWUM’s heritage as an Edinburgh-based university. The rest of the repertoire will range from rousing Welsh hymns to ABBA and Neil Diamond! For KTJ, we will omit the Scottish pieces but perform three numbers jointly with their students, including the Malay folk song Wau Bulan and the Queen classic Bohemian Rhapsody,” added Clennell.
Choosing to sing Wau Bulan a classic Malay folk song is an amazing way for the members of HKWMVC to indulge in and understand the culture of Malaysia. This exchange of repertoire pursues a deep and collaborative element that is the basis of all creative wisdom and achievement.
Peter Stapleton is the choir’s current music director.
On Sept. 19 this year, the choir marks the exact 45th Anniversary of its first-ever rehearsal at Victoria Barracks in 1978.
Visit the Hong Kong Welsh Male Voice Choir official website here.
30 Sept 2023, 5-6pm
Venue: Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Campus. 1, Jalan Vienna P5/2, Presint 5, 62200 Putrajaya, Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya
This concert is a free event. Registration required. For more information about the concert, click here.
- Negaraku, Malaysia National Anthem
- Rachie, Welsh hymn
- I Dreamed A Dream, Les Miserables
- Cwm Rhondda, Welsh hymn
- Flower of Scotland, Scotland’s unofficial anthem
- Take Me Home, a sailor’s song
- If I Ain’t Got You, Alicia Keys
- Chrysanthemum Terrace, Jay Chou
- The Moon Represents My Heart, Teresa Teng
- Loch Lomond. Scottish folk song
- There Is Nothing Like a Dame, South Pacific
- Calon Lan, Welsh
- Sweet Caroline, Neil Diamond
The article has been updated on Oct. 1, at 1:05pm (MYT).