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Kelvin Lau
Artistic Director, Hong Kong Inter-School Choral Festival
Founder & Conductor, The Hong Kong Virtuoso Chorus

From Kelvin Lau, Artistic Director

Growing up in Hong Kong, I came to realise that this is a land full of vitality yet at the same time a very competitive environment. From a young age, we have to compete for rankings in exams and competitions, and this is even more conspicuous in music and sports competitions. During my high school education, I was fortunate to have participated in large choral festivals overseas. It was eye-opening to see that many people around the world sing simply because they love music, and they continue to sing even after they leave school.

In contrast, many students in Hong Kong have been immersed in this competitive environment so that their interest in singing often comes only from the sense of success brought about by winning in competitions. Few of them continue singing after they graduate.

I then thought that while I could not take all my students abroad, it would be great if I could somehow bring this kind of inspiring experience to Hong Kong so that the children here could feel the genuine passion and love for singing. That was the reason I decided to establish the Hong Kong Inter-School Choral Festival (“HKICF”) five years ago. It is my hope that through the music educational programmes in HKICF, students can broaden their music horizon without leaving Hong Kong. "It is not only to talk about the advancement in music, but to introduce a new inter-school choral culture - to enjoy the music-making process instead of merely paying attention to the practical results, to learn to appreciate others’ performances and be a better audience”.  

HKICF is entering its sixth year, and I am delighted to see that the scale and quality of the Festival is now comparable to an international choral festival. The Choral Festival has a number of new features this year, including the first two year-round programmes: the School Choir Incubator Programme and the Hong Kong Inter-School Choir. The former allows music teachers to receive year-round support and bring what they have learned back to their own school choirs, so as to further propel students' passion for choral singing. The latter aims to cultivate future choral singing student leaders who can lead with confidence.

We will also hold for the first time mass school choir masterclasses, the Teachers’ Choir and a showcase concert. It will also be our first time inviting an overseas “Guest Choir of the year” to have cultural and intellectual exchanges with Hong Kong students as part of the Choral Festival.

Here, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to every student, teacher and conductor who has signed up for the Hong Kong Inter-School Choral Festival 2023. Your participation is the best encouragement and has made our blood, sweat and tears all worthwhile. In the past five years, HKICF has grown steadily under the studious efforts of our team, and I hope that we will continue to witness the positive change in the inter-school choral culture in Hong Kong, and the growth in love and passion for choral music by the students who participated in the Choral Festival. May HKICF be a blessing to each of its participants.