Chamber Singers in Taiwan: Professor takes group on concert tour

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Adding some cultural diversity to their voices, the Pacific Chamber Singers, led by Coral and Vocal Director Scott Tuomi, went to Taiwan over Winter Break.

The singers spent 10 days out of the country for a concert tour where they performed at various locations including churches, high schools and hospitals. One of the chapels was a favored place to sing due to the “amazing acoustics” but the high school was an entirely different matter.

“Let’s just say it was like singing into a brick wall two inches in front of your face,” said freshman Cameron Heilman.

“If anyone made a mistake it was very, very obvious” said senior Ashley Stig.

The performers and the audience both favored the folksong titled “Gao Shan Qing” the best. The Taiwanese people often clapped and sung along when the Chamber Singers performed it. Stig and Heilman can distinguish the elderly people as the biggest fans of that composition, “especially the old women.”

The singers performed six times in 10 days. The rest of the time was spent exploring.

“Taipei was a very safe city. Students jumped on the Metro the very first night and started going around the city,” said Tuomi.

They visited national parks and museums but the food remained the favorite part of the trip.

“Every meal when we sat down they just showered you with food and tea till you just couldn’t take it anymore,” said Tuomi.

The singers usually do choir tours every two years, yet the trips generally take place on the West Coast. Tuomi felt that needed to change.

“I felt like we needed to be looking at more Asian countries. We don’t get a lot of European students here. We get Japanese students,” said Tuomi. “We were hosted in Taiwan by Taiwanese

students who used to be in the Chamber Singers and it’s them that we get to reconnect with. So I think it makes sense.”

While tours are effective for recruiting, it isn’t the main reason why Tuomi plans them.

“Choirs should tour. I think it’s one of the best parts about being in a choir.” During the tour the singers learned some Pinyin, Hakka and Mandarin which as all subdivisions of the Chinese language. They also expanded their knowledge on Chinese and Taiwanese art, culture and history.

Students who are interested in

joining the Chamber Singers should contact Scott Tuomi at tuomis1@pacificu. edu.


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