My Fond Memories of Tunghai University Choir

Mark Hsiang Kuen Mao ]Vb^

Not long after school started in 1965, Wu QingMai came to the dormitory and dragged a bunch of us to attend choir selection for new members. Several of us passed Prof. Zhen's test to join, including Zhang DaPing, Li LongGui, Tseng JiHong, and Liao XianMing. Tenor's leader was Zhang JiRen. He welcomed me with a warm smile. We became close friends even after his graduation. He once recruited several of us to help him attend a competition in conducting in Taichung. I recall we did not win, but we got the chance to test his mother's Ke-Jia specialty dish: boneless fish.

At that time Guo ZhiChao was the bass soloist. One of the music was from "Trial by Jury". The base singer wore a wig, just like the lawyers in British court. At that time I was thoroughly confused and and had no idea about its meaning. The soprano soloist was Chen Wei-Duo with amazingly great voice. The alto leader was Lin Xuan. I remembered about her sweet smile and rich voice.

Dr. Rose, Prof. Cheng, Ms. Chang with Choir Members (1966 Spring Concert in Tainan)

Mrs. Rice with 9 Members from the 1969 Graduating Class (1969 at Rong Hsing Garden)

Returning home to Taipei during the winter break, I boasted to a high school friend that TungHai choir had a beautiful pianist. He responded immediately: are you talking about Zhang Huan? It turned out Ms. Zhang was a member of Ling-Liang Chapel which my friend also attended. In latter years, TungHai Choir performed at this Taipei church, LingLiang chapel. Not sure if it was arranged through Ms. Zhang?

Christmas was always an exciting season for our choir members. TungHai choir performed every Christmas on campus either in the university chapel or at the gymnasium. Several of us would always gather to continue our singing well into the late night.

The most exciting program was the performance tours around the island. I recall we visited Tainan in my freshman year. One of the choir member's family opened their home to welcome us. They even brought several famous Tainan specialty snack vendors to their park-like yard for us to try. For this dumb northerner who never had any Taiwanese dishes, I fell in love with meat sauced rice and squid soup ever since.

Mrs. Rice with Choir Members (1969 Spring Concert in Taipei)

We were in XinZhu one year. The family of a choir member was an VIP in the local government. Flower arrangements flooded the concert hall entrance that night, all labelled as "Congratulations to Xxx's solo performance". The choir member was thoroughly embarrassed and refused to come on stage. We were also treated to an open house to RongXing park in Taipei one year.

During my four years of tenure with the choir, the conductor changed from Prof. Zhen to Ms. Rose, then to Mrs. Rice. The music selected by Ms. Rose were some of the most difficult ones. I remembered Brahm's Requiem as being super difficult. Mrs. Roce' s music were some of the most joyful ones. Remember the time we performed at the Ching Chuan Gang air force base? The audience joined in our singing with high spirit. Remember the song "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down"? Karaoke was popular several years ago. I also acquired a setup at home to sing with friends. I often wondered if there were any records suitable for choirs. Could it be that the difficulty in singing in choir would be too high to be popular?

Ms. RiceAVbA }O (Sept. 18, 2012)