Hailing from the indigenous Bunun tribe of Taiwan, a talented group comprising elementary, middle, and high school students from Kaohsiung will stage several choral concerts in London from May 24 to 29.
The participating Bunun youths are from three separate schools — Kaohsiung Municipal Bao-Lai Junior High School (高雄市立寶來國中), Jian-Shan Primary School (高雄市桃源區建山國民小學), and Liou-Guei Senior High School (高雄市立六龜高級中學). The Bao-Lai Junior High School Chorus made international headlines last year as the first-place winner in the Folklore category of the 2018 World Choir Games in South Africa.
At a Taipei press conference held on May 13 by the Ministry of Culture to send off the students, Vice Minister of Culture Lee Lien-chuan spoke of how the Bunun people are world renowned for their eight-part polyphony known as pasibutbut, and how he is excited for the international community in London to learn more about Taiwan’s cultural diversity and vitality through the upcoming performances.
Vice Minister Lee also called attention to the contributions of several key delegation members, including Dr. Chen Chun-chih (陳俊志), choir conductor and dentist who used music to comfort the indigenous groups and rural communities in Kaohsiung that were devastated by Typhoon Morakot in 2009.
The Taiwanese choir tour will kick off on May 24 with a 8.40am chapel service at The Blue Coats School in Birmingham, followed by "A Night of Music" at St. Botolph’s Church on May 25, a fabulous evening showcasing talent from across the globe where the Bunun youths will be joined by The Amici Mixed Choir from Okinawa and the Colchester Military Wives Choir.
The final concert, "Choral Treasures of Taiwan," will take place on May 29 at St. James’s Church in Westminster, where the Taiwanese choir will present not only indigenous music but also Taiwanese folk songs and classic Western tunes.
The tour is supported by the Taiwan Securities Association, Chunghwa Telecom, Mega Bank C&E Foundation, First Commercial Bank, Chang Hwa Bank, and the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK.