Musical Competency : Class + Performance
Sometimes real joy comes along when we listen to our hearts. After nine years of hustling in family business, Sunny Yuen finds Ocarina teaching the true music to his ears. That’s how Sunny founded the Hong Kong Children's Ocarina Band (“HKCOB”).
"Having the opportunity to shine on stage, to perform and to exchange with others is such an experience to be proud of,” he said passionately. “I want our young learners to have opportunities to showcase what they’ve learnt at class”.
To realise this urge, Sunny organised concerts and exchanges. “In order to dismiss the prejudice that Ocarina is merely a toy, we arrange events with a pretty decent scale and professional standards, providing a stage our children feel proud to step onto. “
Public stadiums and theatres are perfect venue for concerts, but Sunny said his orchestra, as a tiny and low profile one, could barely get its application succeed. He had held concerts at venues he considers “professional” but “costly” such as the Asian Expo and Jockey Club Auditorium at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Pouring everything into the orchestra, Sunny started thinking of the need for support from donors who appreciate the good caus. As he sees it, more can be achieved with more resources.
Today, with an ambition to raise his orchestra to the next level, Sunny is planning an exchange trip to Ireland. For the little players, they are thrilled to be Ocarina ambassadors to the Irish audience. To make it happen, Sunny aims to raise [HKD]40,000 as expedition funding by early 2019 to support two members from low-income families.
Little Means, Big Dream…. with music
Tsz Kin]: I want to be a star Ocarina player !
"One day, Sunny said that we’re going to Ireland for an exchange.” said Tsz Kin, an HKCOO student from an underprivileged family. “I was so excited to join that I cracked open all my red pocket (Lai see) money right away. And I started a saving plan too.”
Tsz Kin, 12 years ago, has moved into his sixth year in Ocarina learning. Sunny was excited to find Tsz Kin a quick learner who grasps advanced pieces even at beginner class. This humble learner was not only patient and collaborative, but also keen to help others .
Once water seepage was found in the studio, cloth was pressed on window frames to control the damage. Tsz Kin volunteered to clean the soaked cloth. With his knees down, he laid them down on the floor for drying one by one. Sunny was awed watching it quietly behind the child’s back.
Tsz Kin, a little Mr. Sunshine, actually had a sad past: his parents divorced when Tsz Kin was in primary one. He later found himself moving from a decently comfy home to a 100-sq-ft sub-divided flat with his sister and mother, feeding on government allowances. On the way, he found Ocarina in one of the after school care classes at the community center. There he joked about this encounter, “I wouldn't have come across Ocarina had my parents not divorced!”
He didn’t quite remember when his family was so stretched that they could not even afford rice. To save $4 for milk, Tsz Kin would go to school on foot. Sometimes, he took lunch with canned food from food banks. One can two meals, he remembers the “rule”. Sunny waived Tsz Kin’s tuition fee and took him out for a quick meal once a week before class. Tsz Kin’s favourite menu was rice with chicken and preserved eggs (a popular local dish).
Whilst tuition fee was waived, hefty travelling cost to class prompted Tsz Kin’s mom next to withdrawal. Sunny paid a lot of effort to pull her back.
“Ocarina changed me. I’m not angry anymore, I’m not loitering in basketball courts in the nights any longer. Because of Ocarina, I’m a lot more conscious about managing my own time.” To Tsz Kin, ocarina is indeed a spring of joy, and a source of drive.
Whilst there is no certification system, Tsz Kin remains obsessed about being an ocarina virtuoso. “I don’t need good grades to prove myself. I have a passion. It is what it is.”
To Tsz Kin, the love for music is the pursuit of symphoniam.
Cheuk Hei : Ocarina has become part of My Life
"Playing Ocarina has become part of my daily life. I feel that I’m not myself the day I don’t play it,” Cheuk Hei said. “Sometimes when I’m get tired of homework, playing Ocarina really makes my day.” With a quiet personality, Cheuk Hei sees Ocarina as part of him that feels the same joy and pain.
Like Tsz Kin, Sunny was impressed by Cheuk Hei’s talents that he invited he into his orchestra. As Cheuk Hei is on government stipend, Sunny waived his musical intrument fee. Notwithstanding this, the exchange in Ireland is a financial challenge to the young learner. Zhuo Xi’s family could barely afford the travelling cost, which is worth a worker’s monthly paycheck. Cheuk Hei was about to give up. However, thanks to Sunny’s support, the quiet boy made a daring move to raise fund by street performance.
Any feelings of embarrassment ?
"No. I have a natural urge to perform. I will play "My Heart will Go on” and "The Story of Wind". Any good piece of music," he said. It’s not hard to see the fire in his eyes when it comes to Ocarina.
"I hope people will support us. Even if it means a few hundred dollars. Any dollar donated can bring us one step closer to our dream to become an Ocarina virtuoso."
Our orchestra will perform in your special occasions (max 10 minutes, only available in Hong Kong and weekends)
2 VIP tickets to the International Ocarina Artists'Recital cum Hong Kong Ocarina students’ concert
One World One Heart, an original, locally composed musical piece presented by HKCOB ( MP3)