They did a joint performance with another choir group down there. The Artistic Director of the Seattle group, Auntie Janet, is the sister of one of the senior members of Grand Ensemble (the Vancouver group), Auntie Jean. They performed at the Meydenbauer Theatre in Bellevue, Washington. The Meydenbauer and I go back a looong way *grin*, so it was a very pleasant surprise when the bus pulled up to the front steps. It really was like seeing an old friend again.
The theme for this weekend's concert was 萬水千山總是情 (2.8M MP3). This song is best described as Chinese Country & Western... which doesn't sound like it could EVER work XD, but amazingly, it's quite a lovely song and very well known in the Cantonese speaking community. ( Collapse )
It's one of the few old style Country songs I can stomach. The lyrics are very inspiringly beautiful and the tune is just cute as all buttons. =) The title sounds like it might be a quote from a classical Chinese poem or something, but I don't recognize where it could be from. It was a Hong Kong drama series that aired in 1982 starring Liza Wang and Patrick Tse*.
萬水千山總是情 was set in a period of war-torn China at the turn of the century when countless families were scattered to the winds when everyone fled attacks, air raids, the Japanese and what-not. As the title theme of the series, the song is saying that "no matter what fate deals us, no matter where we are and how far apart we are, we're still family and love will always be love." It's very fitting that Aunt Jean and Aunt Janet chose this theme, being sisters living in different countries.
Anyway, both groups are just hobbyist choirs. The recitals and public performances are for fun, for the experience, something to practice for and pressure to improve. It's also a chance for my parents to get out, socialize, be a part of something and do stuff with other people. They're much happier for it. Realistically, they're beginning to see more days behind them than ahead; Dad's 66 and Mom's 60. I had wanted to spend some time with them while they're still young enough to take their mobility and faculties for granted. It's also good for me to get out more too.
The choir members are sane, down-to-earth, well educated people, very vivacious and full of life. They can be serious and heavy duty on the philosophizing, but they're also very silly and lighthearted as well. During a head count: "If you're not here, please speak up." XD They're all classical music and opera lovers, mostly a Mandarin speaking bunch with Cantonese speakers. The repertoire they choose from is usually from classics translated into Chinese, Chinese classical and folk songs. They'll do some well-known arias in English, Spanish and Italian on occasion too.
I love hearing them sing. The bel canto voice really connects and resonates with me in a way that no other type of vocal technique does. It really needs to be heard on its own. I would have much preferred it if they didn't use microphones and amplification, but they usually do. Still, I had the best seats in the house: pre-equipment setup in rehearsal (I was blown away, it sounded SO MUCH BETTER than hearing them partially through speakers); in the ladies' powder room where Auntie Vivian was warming up and practicing; sitting in between my Mom and Dad in an informal, sit down rehearsal; and in the wing of stage right; ad hoc, on the bus going down the I-5 at 90mph with most of the windows open a crack... they even sound wonderful ON A MOVING BUS .
I very much enjoy being The Rabid Fan Girl after the show and running around getting everyone's autographs. I do it after every concert I go to, but this is the first time I've gotten the complete set of everyone's autograph. They were all smiles, telling my Mom and Dad how they feel like stars and how they've never been asked for an autograph other than on the cheques they write or the bills they pay. I've made 45 people very happy to feel good about themselves and their performance, even if it's just for the weekend. And that is fun.
On the way back, we:
- stormed a Denny's at breakfast. XD
- took pictures and meandered a bit around Lake Washington.
- walked a little loop around the beautiful University of Washington campus, stopping for a good long gander at the view standing between the entrances of the School of Art and School of Music buildings.
- tottered around a factory outlet where no one wanted to really buy anything they didn't absolutely need because the prices aren't low enough compared to what we can get back home to risk the hassle going across the border.
* Patrick Tse is the father of Nicholas Tse, the spoiled brat-ass rich kid who is trying big time to clean up his extremely negative public image with Jackie Chan's help. You know you're in a hole when you need JACKIE CHAN to give you a Good Guy Role in his movie to get people to stop hating you.