For this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) Faculty and Staff Choir was invited by Keelung-based Rain Rhythm Chorus to jointly perform with Keelung Senior High School Orchestra and Spring Sprouts Chamber. Music lovers were thus able to enjoy a night of refreshing and wonderful music at the Mid-Autumn Festival Concert.
Founded in 1960, the Rain Rhythm Chorus is an outstanding performing arts group based in Keelung City, with the renowned vocalist Hsi-I Lee serving as the art director and Wei-Yu Chen as the regular conductor. Chorus Leader Jian-Hong Chen stated that in the past 2 years, people had been unable to live a carefree life under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, choir members still have hope for the future. NYCU Faculty and Staff Choir was able to perform at National Theater and Concert Hall in 2020 and NYCU Theater in 2021 as scheduled. The faculty and staff were still subject to the impact of the pandemic and looked forward to the healing and positive effect music has on society.
The core repertoire of the concert featured a full symphony orchestra and chorus for the performance of Requiem for the Living written by contemporary American composer Dan Forrest. Despite traditional requiems were generally written to honor the dead, Dan Forrest argued that requiems can also serve as a prayer for peace and tranquility for the living. His music transcends the void of the world, pleads for mercy and forgiveness, and finally praises the eternal light. Requiem for the Living features five movements packed full of excitement and tension at first, followed by soothingness and praise, rendering the choral composition unique in musical and emotional expression. Art Director Ms. Yu-Hsin Wang of the NYCU Faculty and Staff Choir performed as the soprano soloist in the choral composition, and her melodious voice moved the audience.
In the second half of the joint performance, Keelung-based Rain Rhythm Chorus and NYCU Faculty and Staff Choir jointly performed two comforting pieces for the audience. Singing in the Rain was selected by the organizer for humor purposes because Keelung is known as The City of Rain. Singing in the Rain was the theme song of the movie of the same title released in the United States in 1952. After bidding good night to his lover, the protagonist Gene Kelly sang and tap-danced in the rainy streets with an umbrella in hand. Singing in the Rain is one of the classic Hollywood musicals. The encore song You Raise Me Up was dedicated to both the Chorus Leader Jian-Hong Chen who has led Rain Rhythm Chorus for more than 20 years and the audience attending the concert. Let us encourage each other and usher in the dawn.
On the day of the performance, NYCU Vice President Chen-Yi Lee and CEO Churchill Chen of the Alumni Association, Spring Foundation of NCTU Chairman Peter Lin and his wife, Professor Shyh-Jye Jou of the NYCU Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (former Director General of the Department of International Cooperation and Science Education of Ministry of Science and Technology), and other NYCU guests also graced the occasion with their presence and spent an enjoyable night with everyone.