Music Street plan to liven up HCM City

February 26, 2017 - 09:00

Phương Mai talks to HCM City authorities about the latest plan to liven up the city’s streets. 

Street spirit: Students from the HCM City Conservatory of Music perform on Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street. Photo from the conservatory’s Facebook page
Viet Nam News

Phương Mai talks to HCM City authorities about the latest plan to liven up the city’s streets. 

Though it has yet to be approved, a plan to establish a Music Street that would host both amateurs and professionals in downtown HCM City looks likely to get the go ahead.

District 1 officials, who submitted the plan to the People’s Committee, have proposed setting up the venue on either Alexandre de Rhodes or Hàn Thuyên streets, both of which surround the April 30 Park, one of the greenest sites downtown.

The two streets are near Book Street, Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street, and the iconic Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral.

The plan calls for having live music performances for two or three hours on weekend mornings.

Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, urged the district’s authorities to submit a detailed plan on Music Street soon.

District authorities have already established a group to conduct research on the kind of facilities that may be needed and have asked the City’s Student Cultural House to outline a performance programme.

The Cultural House has dozens of music groups and clubs with members from local high schools, universities and colleges who play a variety of music, including contemporary, traditional and chamber music.

Celebration songs: Members of the Nốt Nhạc Xanh Club (Green Music Note) at the HCM City Student Cultural House perform at a concert to welcome the Lunar New Year. Photo from the club’s Facebook page

The Giai Điệu Phương Nam (Melody of the South) Club, for example, performs folk songs of both the northern and southern regions, while the Nốt Nhạc Xanh (Green Music Note) Club plays pop songs praising love and country.

Another club, called Tiếng Tơ Lòng (Voices from the Heart), provides traditional performing arts such as cải lương (reformed opera) and tài tử music.

Ngô Thanh Chung, director of the Cultural House, said: “The music groups and clubs at the HCM City Student Cultural House have experience performing in front of the public. They have performed for students at schools in the city and dormitories, for soldiers in the islands, at open-air stages, and for poor workers and people in rural areas.”

She said the performers would offer different themes and topics every week. For example, there would be a performance focusing on folk songs of the South and folk songs from the central region the next week.

Hoàng Minh, a member of the Giai Điệu Phương Nam Club, said: “My club’s members and I were happy when we heard the news. We’ll have more opportunities to play music.”

Green venue: Hàn Thuyên Street is one of two streets that could be used for HCM City’s new Music Street, if approved by city authorities. VNS Photo by Phương Mai

Chung said that it was “a good chance for young artists, particularly amateurs and music students, to show off their talent”.

Nguyễn Hoàng Anh, who studies music at the City’s College of Culture and Arts, suggested that District 1 authorities give priority to music students and performers with high potential.

“It will also help improve our skills,” she said.

Public opinion

However, many city residents as well as music producers and organisers worry that Music Street would cause traffic jams downtown.

Lê Hữu Luận, director of the HCM City Performing Arts and Cinematography Centre, who has hosted traditional music performances in front of the Opera House, said the idea to set up a Music Street was “interesting but unnecessary”.

“The city has Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street, a huge square and an ideal venue for outdoor musical activities. Why don’t we use it as a Music Street,” Luận said.

Nguyễn Huệ Street is one of the most attractive outdoor entertainment hubs in the city, attracting musicians and dancers in the evening and on weekends.

Using Nguyễn Huệ Street as a venue to host music performances and other activities would help prevent traffic congestion downtown, Luận said.

Nguyễn Thị Thu Hường, vice chairman of District 1’s People’s Committee, said the city would make a decision soon on the location of Music Street.

“District 1 authorities are collecting opinions from local residents and musicians to perfect the Music Street plan, which will be submitted to the City’s People’s Committee as soon as possible,” she said.  VNS

Green scene: Alexandre de Rhodes Street is one of two streets that could be the site of HCM City’s proposed Music Street, if approved by the city. VNS Photo by Phương Mai