Thu, Jul 21, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Taiwanese choirs win medals at World Choir Games

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter

Three Taiwanese choirs won five gold and one silver awards at the World Choir Games that was held in Sochi, Russia, from July 6 to Saturday last week, in spite of political pressure and harassment from China, sources said on Tuesday.

In the “champions competition,” the Muller Chamber Choir (木樓合唱團) won three golds in the male chamber choir, sacred music a cappella and contemporary music categories, while the New Taipei City Junior Chorus (新北市少年合唱團) won a silver in the children’s choir category. Another group, the Shih-Yu Chorus (台北師友合唱團), joined the “open competition” and bagged two golds in the contemporary and folk music categories.

Shih-Yu Chorus conductor Chen Sheng-chang (陳聖昌) told the Chinese-language United Daily News that the Taiwanese delegation was not allowed to carry the Republic of China flag or their choir emblems in the pre-Games parade or the awards ceremony.

Moreover, while other countries’ representatives were allowed to introduce themselves on stage during the parade, the Taiwanese delegation found that the microphones had been removed when it was their turn, Chen said.

The treatment resulted in a heated confrontation between the Taiwanese choirs and the organizers, Chen said.

During the argument, a representative of the Chinese delegation approached the Taiwanese group and asked for their understanding, saying that they were under pressure from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was observing the event, Chen told the newspaper.

The secretary-general of the World Choir Games, a German national, later intervened, apologized to the Taiwanese delegation and followed the Taiwanese contestants in the procession, Chen said.

Chen added that although the Taiwanese choirs had no microphones, they opted to introduce themselves by saying: “We sing for joy, sing for Taiwan,” and to stay in the Games to compete, because “backing out would have meant that the world would miss its chance to see Taiwan.”

Chen said his choir had performed in Busan, South Korea, and did not receive such rude treatment.

However, there were no Taiwanese diplomats at the Sochi event.

“It is as if we did not have a country at all,” Chen told the newspaper.

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