CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Musical up in Veritas Cup

MACAU (UCAN): A contest calling for a new innovation in religious hymns and music in Mandarin sponsored by Radio Veritas Asia has once again attracted a wide range of classy entries, with a group from Malaysia taking out the top honours this time around.
Singing its own musical creation called God is Love, the group from Malaysia was announced as this year’s winner of the Veritas Cup at a Holy Music Festival held in Macau Diocesan Social Communications Centre from October 27 to 29.
So Kai-yi, the Taiwanese chairperson of the judging panel, said that over 200 entries mostly from Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Macau and Taiwan were considered in the panel’s final decision.
So explained that the primary criteria employed by the panel were how well the entries reflected the Christian faith and how well they were presented.
Thanks for Your Hug, an entry from Wenzhou in the Zhejiang province of China, was chosen as the runner-up, although the judges commented that the standard of composition on the mainland is still not up to the standard of creativity of the other Chinese-speaking regions that put in entries.
An entry from Taichung in Taiwan, Shepherd in the Mountain, was chosen for third place.
The judges noted that although it has been a longtime between drinks, the years since the Hong Kong-based AMDG Band took out the first Veritas Cup in 2014 have been marked by a big improvement in the overall quality of entries.
Some of the groups from the mainland accompanied their singing with the ancient Chinese Gugin, a zither-type stringed instrument.
Wu Jiagong, the principal of Guangqi Music School in Shanghai and a member of the five-person panel, noted that some entries from the mainland were performed in an ancient Chinese chanting style.
However, Wu admitted that the bulk of mainland composers have yet to catch up with their brothers and sisters from Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, but added that there certainly is a new talent emerging in the Middle Kingdom.
A judge from Taiwan, Wu Ru-ran, commented that traditional influences, such as folk song and opera, should not be ignored. “In addition to composing our works via our own experiences and emotions, we need to think more about the relationship between ourselves with the earth and God,” he advised.
Nevertheless, Wu admitted that all this takes time and pointed out that the treasure of western religious music was accumulated over a period of hundreds of years.
Themes embraced in this year’s entries ranged from saints to family, children to religious congregations, and worship to faith sharing.
A hymn set in Guangdong called Son of Jiangcheng—Calling, composed by Father Han Bo, from Shanxi, was singled out for special praise.
A Gregorian chant with a typical melody played on the Guqin, the hymn tells of a teenager responding to a call from God by dedicating himself to religious life.
The first Veritas Cup attracted 182 entries.

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