[ Music Activities for Post-COVID 19 in Asia ] Vol.6

A Report from Hong Kong

Due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong SAR government has announced that all schools had to suspend face-to-face classes and all school activities starting from late January 2020 right after the Chinese New Year holiday. The Leisure & Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has also temporarily closed numerous cultural and leisure facilities and cancelled recreational, sports and cultural programmes held at these venues.

Since live performance is the core of our training system, Hong Kong Children’s Symphony Orchestra (HKCSO) had to suspend all events, including one concert in February, two concerts in April, the Southeast Asia tour originally in summer and all the rehearsals.

Until June when the situation became more stable, the concert halls and rehearsal venues reopened with certain restrictions. As HKCSO’s members are mainly children, certain safety measures were adopted to prevent novel coronavirus infection from spreading. All orchestra members and staffs must have their body temperature measured and wear face masks. Before entering the rehearsal room, each member must disinfect his/her hands. Sanitizing agents are provided in each rehearsal room (such as disinfecting alcohol hand gel or disinfecting wet tissues). We do maximize the distance between seats within all the space of the rehearsal rooms. As suggested by the government, each group of players cannot be more that 4 people and each group should keep at least 1.5m in distance. Since it is unavoidable for winds players to wear masks when they are performing, we provide partitions to separate each winds player. They are responsible to clean the partitions after use. They also need to prepare their own container and cleaning supplies for cleaning the accumulated fluid in the instrument, as from condensation of water vapor in player’s breath.

However, the rapid local deterioration of COVID-19 in July made us suspend all orchestra events for another two months. The two rescheduled concert in September and October needed to be rescheduled again.

In late September, our rehearsals and concert resumed again under a better circumstance. Fortunately the rescheduled concert on 14 November were successfully performed in Hong Kong City Hall. The program included collaborating with Hong Kong pianist Vanessa Wong playing the Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3; and the Hong Kong piano group Duo Ping & Ting performing the Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Two Pianos in E major.

HKCSO has also performed Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and his Symphony No. 8 in the same concert conducted by Assistant Conductor Chan Oi-ching and Resident Conductor Jeff Leung.
Although the audience size were limited to 50% of the original capacity, it was an invaluable opportunity for us to meet our audience and friends in this difficult period.

We are looking forward to the year 2021. We wish everyone could stay healthy, and would like to see you all again on stage soon!