Farewell HCS Voices from Chunye!
Summer is a good season for me since it is a time when everything flourishes and blooms. On the other hand, summer is also a time with complex feelings, with many goodbyes and hope for the future. I joined HCS Voices not too long ago while doing my final year of BA (Hons) TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the university. Though it has been only half a year, the choir means a lot to me. This short blog represents the farewell to my past, Huddersfield, and my time at HCS Voices.
I almost don’t remember what type of force made me look for a choir, but I do regret not finding HCS Voices earlier. Before joining HCS Voices, I was in a small worship team back in my home church. At first, I would like to find a choir at a local church, yet the form of the choir here is quite different from that in my hometown. The members, in my opinion, are usually good at playing instruments or singing. Thus, as an amateur who lack enough knowledge in music, I haven’t joined a choir until I came across HCS Voices. I was excited and surprised that this choir welcomes members to join without an audition, and it is led by the Huddersfield Choral Society (interestingly I’d heard about the amazing work of HCS before I came to Huddersfield!).
One fun fact about me and HCS Voices is that I wasn’t sure about whether I should be at the Alto or the Soprano part when I just joined the choir, and I even didn’t know how to read music! So it was a little bit daunting for me to first join such a huge community, and sing the songs I was unfamiliar with. However, what keeps me stay in the choir, is the fabulous atmosphere in the community, which is not only about making music together but also about more, about some shiny brightness of the linking between human beings.
As probably my last rehearsal finished, my mind usually brings me to the question that what HCS Voices means to me; and the first answer that jumped out in my mind was family. Although sometimes new music may seem hard and challenging, our family leader Laura is always encouraging and engaging during the rehearsals. She is excellent at guiding us while having fun and is very patient. Additionally, Helen, Angus, and many other volunteers put forth a lot of effort to ensure that every rehearsal for our large family is excellent.
The love flowing in the choir family always provides me with continuous encouragement and motivation, especially during my hard days. The final year at uni is usually challenging for students, this also applies to me, as an international student away from home. Rehearsal days have been my favourite of the week, as the choir family is like a harbour and refuge, giving me chances to take a breather from the stressful uni work. Even just listening to Tim play the piano and taking in the singing of other vocal parts may be a real delight at times. I really enjoy meeting others at the choir weekly, having ‘a proper cup of coffee’ during the break, and checking in on how’s everyone doing. It is a joy to talk with members from various walks of life, yet we have the same fancy for singing. At some points, people may patiently tell me the story of the music, and it is impressive to listen to the cultural background of different music. I am usually moved by the caring and friendliness of others, it is like a breeze under the sunshine, really soft but warm.
Life is not just about living, we also need music, laughter, and love; those are all the priceless treasures that HCS Voices brings to me. Now, my lovely days at the choir witnessed me growing up from a final-year student to a proud graduate, two sopranos and an alto even came to my graduation day to celebrate as my ‘choir family’! The experience of singing at HCS Voices also gives me more confidence to find another choir as I move to my next step. It really sounds amazing, that I unconsciously did my UG dissertation on the topic of ‘Singing and English learning’, which gives more insights into the magical power of music. And I wholeheartedly concur that music is universal, and it is not only about reading and singing the notes but loads of more beautiful things you may experience from singing in a choir. If you ask me about HCS Voices, and say, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’, my answer will be definitely ‘YES’.