Interview with Mrs. Christina Chiang - Music Director of DGS & DGJS
Mrs. Christina Chiang met with Audrey Tam and Andrea Lai of the Editorial Sub-Committee to share and talk about her devotion in teaching music.
It was a warm and bright spring afternoon, a pleasant time of the year to meet Mrs. Christina Chiang who took a break from her busy schedule after a round of choir rehearsals in the morning. Mrs. Chiang greeted us with her usual brilliant smile at the new campus. While it was the School’s Easter break, the DGJS choir continued to meet in preparation for the upcoming competition at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati, USA this summer. Mrs. Chiang insisted on having the interview before taking her lunch. Her professionalism as a music teacher has not changed a bit.
Mrs. Chiang’s education path began at DGS where she attended Kindergarten to Form 6 all the way (the KG hut era before the swimming pool was built in its place)! She then studied at the Teachers’ Training College and further advanced her tertiary education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Baptist University.
In her school days, Mrs. Chiang participated in a great variety of activities, for example, solo and choral singing, folk dancing and joint school drama performances. She was also a member of the school’s netball team and the table-tennis team.
Her music interest and training developed and flourished while studying at DGS. Music teachers from both primary and senior schools have deeply inspired her passion towards music. Mrs. Chiang was taught by Mrs. Jane Shen when she was attending primary school. In her secondary years, Mrs. Chiang was taught four years of music by Miss Maneely, a Scottish lady with immaculate conducting skills, whom Mrs. Chiang described as ‘a very inspiring but demanding teacher’. Looking back, perhaps it was this music teacher who was monumental in instigating Mrs. Chiang to become who she is today in the field of music.
Growing up within a church environment, Mrs. Chiang was further influenced by the conductor of her church choir. Her career aspiration became crystal clear having come across these inspiring teachers during the early stages of her life.
Mrs. Chiang returned to the School as a music teacher in 1972. The headmistresses she has worked with include Dr. Symons, Mrs. Yip and Mrs. Blomfield. After ten years of teaching at DGJS, Mrs. Chiang left to become a Music Lecturer at the (then) Colleges of Education, now, the Hong Kong Institute of Education. In 1993, her love for the School brought her back to her alma mater once again under the leadership of Mrs. Stella Lau and Mrs. Emily Dai.
Throughout the many years of teaching at DGS and DGJS, the most rewarding experience for Mrs. Chiang was to see the school girls grow and develop in their music journey. Mrs. Chiang enjoyed bringing out the best of students who had the least talent by nurturing their love of music through singing. To Mrs. Chiang, the sense of fulfillment in seeing an incoming Primary student without a good sense of pitch improve and can sing well eventually, is invaluable.
Another aspect that Mrs. Chiang enjoys tremendously is the rapport that she builds with her choir members. Girls who are chosen to join in the school choirs participate with their fullest effort and put their hearts into it. There are lots of interactions with choir members during practices and rehearsals and these build up personal relationships that last throughout the years. This is seen in the establishing of the DOGA choir, the Diocesan Graduate Singers in the year 2000. Since then, it has strengthened fellowship among its members consisting of old girls spanning four decades.
One of the memorable events for Mrs. Chiang was leading the DGJS choir to compete in the LLangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales in 2008. Despite being the first time to enter a DGJS choir in an international competition, the choir won 1st place in the Junior Children’s Choir category. Other memorable events included many brilliant performances of various competition songs at the Hong Kong Schools Music Festivals.
Mrs. Chiang finds DGS girls to be very smart and receptive, yet not creative enough as they are at times confined with the fear of being wrong and lack the time for thinking and playing. She hopes that students will dare to be creative even if it may mean making mistakes at times. This will help them advance further in their music journey and in the development of the person as a whole. Mrs. Chiang also aspires to lead our girls to appreciate music itself and not just to think of results in competitions.
At present, Mrs. Chiang is reemployed by the School as the Music Director of both DGJS and DGS after retiring in 2011 from the Junior School. She teaches a few music lessons, leads three choirs and organises the DGJS concerts. She also manages resources of the new campus music facilities and hopes to develop the School in various ways to serve the community through music activities.
During her spare time, Mrs. Chiang continues to devote her time and energy to music. She is committed to her church as its deaconess and is also the conductor for its adult and children’s choirs. On Friday evenings, Mrs. Chiang leads the Diocesan Graduate Singers. She enjoys attending music concerts and watching all kinds of dance performances which she finds helpful towards staging performances.
Upon full retirement, Mrs. Chiang hopes to continue to be involved in choral music. Music will always be part of her life.
Mrs. Chiang and music are inseparable.