The Chinese Lyrics Course Graduation Concert returns to the stage!

26 Jul 2023

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, students took to the stage again in the “Chow Yiu Fai Chinese Lyrics Course Graduation Concert 2022/23” held on 24 and 25 June.

2023 marks the 12th anniversary of the Graduation Concert and the theme this year is about “Home and Family.”  In two almost full-house performances, the concert featured 36 songs penned by students of the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing’s Chinese Song Lyric Writing course, one of the most sought-after courses in the Department, that is supported by the Centre for Innovative Service-Learning and the Tin Ka Ping Foundation . These 36 songs are based on 36 unique stories about what home means for the homeless, the elderly living alone, single-parent families, domestic helpers, refugees and wanderers and how they cope with the unexpected and uncertainties in life. The students went out of their comfort zones to interview 36 individuals from different backgrounds, before channeling their stories into poignant lyrics that speak of the extraordinary strength of ordinary people. 

From the start, the concert was going to be more than a showcase of the students’ musical and literary talent. After performing their song, each student shared the story behind the lyrics and their creative process. The concert also gave the spotlight to some of the interviewees who came on stage to share with the audience their personal story. It was just as much an emotional journey for the students as it was for the audience. Friends and families got to see their loved ones perform. The students also shared how they learned to be empathetic towards those who are struggling, and most important of all, to be always honest with their own feelings and put their heart and soul into their work.

“My mandate to the students was simple. Write about people and topics that have flesh and blood. Find real stories that move you, and not something lofty. Don’t be afraid to have deep conversations with your interviewees and yourself during the creative process,” says Professor Chow Yiu-fai, Professor of the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing and a well-regarded lyricist in town, who has made Cantopop history recently for winning the "Best Lyricist Award" at the 34th Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan.

“At the end of the day, not everything needs to be perfect, but you and your work need to be authentic. Being authentic is what gives your work soul and makes it contagious,” adds  Professor Chow.

There are many things to like and rave about the concert. The heartfelt lyrics and soulful vocals aside, what happened off stage was just as inspiring. The teamwork among the students and alumni who came back to help organise the concert, and their trust and rapport with Professor Chow on and off stage, made the concert all the more precious. As everyone stepped forward for the curtain call, Professor Chow joined the team to give credit to those who helped make the concert a success. He named and thanked the students, alumni members, his colleagues in the Humanities and Creative Writing team, and the Centre for Innovative Service-Learning for their unconditional support, and the audience reciprocated with continuous applause as each name was mentioned.