Tuesday, December 11 2018

VietNamNews

Getting young people to like old music

Update: December, 09/2018 - 09:00
“Love is Life”, a concert recently held by the Sài Gòn Choir and Sài Gòn Youth Orchestra, attracted many people in HCM City. Photo courtesy of Sài Gòn Youth Orchestra’s fan page
Viet Nam News

A choir in Ho Chi Minh City is working to help young people enjoy old music.

To make classical music more attractive to the youth, the Sài Gòn choir mixes the old music with more modern sounds.

What is tough for the choir is that a ticket to watch them must cost less than a movie ticket.

If the choir charged more, young people would not come to watch it perform.

By An Phương

HCM CITY – Classical music is difficult to listen to, many people say.  But the truth is, if it is performed creatively, it can bring joy to audiences, especially young people.

The Sài Gòn Choir is one of the outstanding groups that have brought classical music closer to the young public in HCM City.

The three-year-old group, which operates under the HCM City Music Conservatory, schedules about three classical music concerts with different themes every year.

Huỳnh Quang Thái, vocal coach at the conservatory, and leader of the choir, says it takes several months to practise for one concert.

“Most team members are students at the conservatory and each person has a different schedule,” he says, adding that they must have extensive musical skills.

Hoàng Huy, a sophomore at the conservatory, says that classical music cannot be performed carelessly.

“This is to retain audiences’ expectations, especially those that are serious about this musical genre,” Huy says, adding that rehearsals and practice are essential to good performances.

Some hundred seats are sold at each concert, with tickets ranging from VNĐ100,000 to VNĐ400,000.

“Though I know a standard ticket might cost less than a movie ticket, and that we should charge more, we can’t do this because people wouldn’t come to the show,” choirmaster Thái says.

The amount of revenue gained on the group’s luckiest days is only enough to cover production costs of one concert.

“Sometimes we need to use money earned from other commercial shows to cover our losses at the concert,” he says.

However, all of the choir members are truly happy to be able to pursue what they genuinely love.

“To be able to perform is the greatest gift,” Thái says.

Nguyễn Tương Việt Tú, a group member who works both as a neurologist and artist, says: “Whenever I’m on stage, I feel ’alive’. And that’s the very moment that I don’t just ’exist’.”

To many people, especially youth, classical music can be difficult to relate to or understand.

However, to Thái and other classical music lovers, the genre is no different than others in that its melodies can lift people’s moods.

“It’s up to the listeners’ imagination to picture what is being played or sung. Keep that in mind, and it is much easier to ‘feel’ the music,” Huy says.

Interestingly, many soundtracks used for epic blockbusters use classical music.

“You might not notice it, but what you’ve heard and felt good about is mixed on the basis of this kind of music,” choirmaster Thái says. “I think it is not only the older generations or others who desire academic music.”

“Classical music cannot be performed carelessly,” many artists agreed.

To reach out to the young generation, the Sài Gòn Choir not only adds modern twists to classical tunes but also remixes trending or popular songs.

“We’ve covered some folk songs such as Qua Cầu Gió BaySay Something and The Moon Represents My Heart that have received positive feedback,” Thái says.

Many people do not expect a popular song to sound this way, so that has helped break people’s stereotypes about classical music.

That being said, remixing is just one of several ways to attract the audience. The group still performs purely classical pieces.

The Sài Gòn Choir’s Facebook fanpage also receives a lot of interest as they regularly post teasers about their upcoming performances.

“This was an intelligent move because I was able to experience the music before deciding to commit,” Thu Thảo, 21, says.

Ngọc Anh, a friend of Thảo, says: “I first knew about the Sài Gòn Choir three months ago when a friend of mine shared a short video in which the group sang my song.”

The choir mostly performs at the HCM City Music Conservatory.

“Since we do not have enough of a budget to rent another concert hall, and we require particular setups, we’re happy with our space so far,” Thái says.

Discussions are still being held over construction of a new theatre in HCM City’s Thủ Thiêm Peninsula. The Sài Gòn Choir, among several music groups, hope to be able to perform there without bearing a financial burden.

“We’ll never get tired of intense practices as long as we can be on stage and deliver what we’ve got to the crowd,” Thái says. – VNS


 

 

GLOSSARY

But the truth is, if it is performed creatively, it can bring joy to audiences, especially young people.

Creatively means “with imagination”.

Audiences are people who watch performances.

The three-year-old group, which operates under the HCM City Music Conservatory, schedules about three classical music concerts with different themes every year.

A conservatory is a place where one can take music lessons.

Schedules are programmes.

Huỳnh Quang Thái, vocal coach at the conservatory, and leader of the choir, says it takes several months to practise for one concert.

Someone who is vocal speaks and lot and probably quite loud, so he, or she, is easily heard.

Hoàng Huy, a sophomore at the conservatory, says that classical music cannot be performed carelessly.

A sophomore is a second-year student.

“This is to retain audiences’ expectations, especially those that are serious about this musical genre,” Huy says, adding that rehearsals and practice are essential to good performances.

Expectations are what you expect of people.

Rehearsals are practices.

The amount of revenue gained on the group’s luckiest days is only enough to cover production costs of one concert.

Revenue is money that is earned.

However, all of the choir members are truly happy to be able to pursue what they genuinely love.

To pursue something means to follow through with it.

Nguyễn Tương Việt Tú, a group member who works both as a neurologist and artist, says: “Whenever I’m on stage, I feel ’alive’.

A neurologist is a medical doctor who specialises in problems that are to do with people’s nerves and nervous systems.

To many people, especially youth, classical music can be difficult to relate to or understand.

If you relate to something, you understand it.

However, to Thái and other classical music lovers, the genre is no different than others in that its melodies can lift people’s moods.

A genre is a type of music.

Melodies are tunes.

Interestingly, many soundtracks used for epic blockbusters use classical music.

A blockbuster is a hit of a film. Epic means grand.

“I think it is not only the older generations or others who desire academic music.”

Desire means want.

To reach out to the young generation, the Sài Gòn Choir not only adds modern twists to classical tunes but also remixes trending or popular songs.

Remixes are musical soundtracks made from mixing them with others that have themselves been mixed.

If a remix is trending it is popular and people listen to it more and more.

Many people do not expect a popular song to sound this way, so that has helped break people’s stereotypes about classical music.

Stereotypes are simple definitions of things that people easily believe.

The Sài Gòn Choir’s Facebook fanpage also receives a lot of interest as they regularly post teasers about their upcoming performances.

Teasers are short clips that are made to get people interested in something, such as a performance.

“This was an intelligent move because I was able to experience the music before deciding to commit,” Thu Thảo, 21, says.

Intelligent means clever.

To commit to something means to dedicate.

 “Since we do not have enough of a budget to rent another concert hall, and we require particular setups, we’re happy with our space so far,” Thái says.

A budget is a plan that is put together on how to spend your money.

The Sài Gòn Choir, among several music groups, hope to be able to perform there without bearing a financial burden.

Bearing means carrying.

A burden is a problem that feels heavy to carry. A financial burden is one that is to do with money.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. The Sài Gòn Choir is three years old.
  2. It is quite normal for classical music to be performed carelessly.
  3. Choir members love what they do.
  4. Many soundtracks for popular big films are classical music.
  5. Ngọc Anh knew about the Sài Gòn Choir three years ago.

 

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. True; 2. False; 3. True; 4. True; 5. False.

 

 

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