Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review- Konzert de Solidez- City Singers

I'm a bad bad artist.... I admit it, I have a problem. I really don't like classical music. I've tried, I swear! My mother and sisters were all classical musicians and I had a very short/angry relationship with a trombone when I was 11. I think I could still bust out "The Muppet Show" theme on it if I tried! But here's the thing, I like reinvented classical music- you know the kind you can dance too! Or I like pop songs turned into classical music, also you can dance to it. (Can you see a pattern?) But I cannot sit through a chamber music concert without becoming a bad, bad girl...
A fun evening with great local musicians!

 I had the pleasure of being invited to Konzert de Solidez by the beautiful and talented Sally Ng. The concert space and performance was shared by a wood wind trio called Solidez which consisted of a piano, clarinet and oboist. I thought everyone who performed at this concert was amazingly talented! It had a great community feel to it with both the english speaking and cantonese speaking community involved. They made great efforts to do all intros in both chinese and english which I deeply appreciated. But frankly, sometimes they were not necessary. We are smart audience members, we can just read the program. However, I'm sure they had a reason for all the intros (people had to switch instruments or take quick water breaks!)

Despite the fact that 5 people in the choir are very good friends of mine. I promised myself when I attended that I would give them an honest review. Musically the performance was fine, there were some timing issues and some technical issues but these did not attract from the talent that was on stage.
here is how the show was arranged
1. Solidez duos
10 minute intermission- mainly there to move the piano
2. City Singers performance
5 minute pause to move the piano
3. Solidez trios
5 minute pause to move the piano
4. City Singers Finale (with additional music provided by Solidez.)
The piano moving was excessive! Couldn't the Solidez guy have played on stage right in Act Two so it wouldn't have to be moved again and again...

Now, here was my main issue with the show. I felt all of the Solidez music should have been in Act One before the intermission. The crew had to move the piano a total of 3 times and that ate up a lot of time. Also, the fifth song in the Solidez repetoire was far too long. We're talking a twenty minute song. This song should have either been done before the intermission or not at all. It wouldn't have made the second act seem so tedious. (But then again, I'm an uncultured slob that hates classical music.)
Also a very strange thing would happen during the Solidez sets. After every song the performers would leave the stage and come back 2-3 minutes later. It made no sense. Once they all three left and the oboist switched instruments and then they all came back. Wouldn't it have been more efficient to bring the second horn with you? Or at the very least have someone bring it out to you during the applause section?The constant leaving and coming back was strange.

City Singers
City Singers is a modern, all volunteer based choir. Their music were all modern and mainly Broadway based. As a theatre junkie, I appreciated all the music choices. But I think the best song they performed was in their first set: Say a Little Prayer in accapella. It showcased the entire choir, allowed us to have a different style of music and was just plain fun!
Also major props to the choir for tackling Time to Say Goodbye. Yes, I'm completely biased as the two soloists are co workers of mine. But even if they weren't I would say they did an amazing job with this song. I loved the incorporation of the whole choir into the chorus of the song. And despite it being an incredibly difficult song to sing everyone did it very well.
My only complaint within the choir respective was that the soloists seemed to repeat themselves. I'm from the philosophy, one solo from each person and then you support the others. I heard single lines sung by a couple people in the song from Oliver and in the Rythym of Life but I would have liked to have heard more from these people. These solo arrangements simply could have been due to who could come to practice and who couldn't. But there were plenty of singers I wanted to hear more from.

On a side note, the accompanist Chor Wai Hong was amazing! He played everything by ear and he is one of the best piano players I have ever heard!

Tech Issues
Most of these tech issues seemed to be based out of house, Sha Tin Town Hall. The house lights stayed on the entire show! Why? It makes a bored audience member want to behave badly, many kids were reading comics during the show! There was no point in keeping the house on the whole time. True, the choir did come down the stairs at the beginning but I'm sure they could have managed in the dark, the stage lights were bright enough as is! Very distracting house lights bothered me and other audience members!
Seeing as this was a community event with piles of family and friends in the audience, I didn't think the ushers would be so gung ho on someone taking a flash-less photo of their family member singing in the choir. The ushers were over all very rude to people at times and needed to lighten up!
And as much as I love my friends, the thank yous and the bows at the end went a little long. Do them all at once so people can get up sooner! I felt like we were clapping for AGES!

Solidez- B (Too long of music choice for the second act but wonderful skilled performers!)
City Singers- A- (Great music choices but a lack of variance in soloists.)
Tech- C (All due to poor arrangement in the program selections and house lights being left on.)
OVERALL: B+ (Tech can't destroy a great show!!! Unless you're Spiderman Turn Off the Dark)


  1. Hi

    I like your picture of the snow covered roof - very impressive ..

  2. It's the roof of a french castle where a friend got married this past christmas.

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  4. Didn't go to that concert but agree on the usher point: generally I feel HK ushers are really strict, compared to the States'.