Guess who I met in Hoi An?

Members of the Convent JB choir whom I met in the
foyer of the Hoi An Beach Resort, before their performance
Our middle sister, Pearly, was coming from the UK to visit family and friends and it was also an opportunity for us, the three sisters, to have a short holiday at an Asian destination.  I heard about Hoi An, a UNESCO heritage town in Vietnam, from friends – Nick and June – who have visited repeatedly because they so liked that place.  From their recommendation, I suggested this destination to my sisters and they agreed.

We booked flight tickets and accommodation online and followed up with Pearly on her application for visa on her British passport.  Meanwhile, I was going to many events and writing about them.  Among them was my visit to the JB Convent – our alma mater – on two occasions: To honour the SPM 2104 top scorers and for the school-level celebration of the school’s 90thanniversary.  The school choir, who performed on both occasions, has won accolades at district, state and national level competitions and taken part in workshops and competitions in Vienna and Hong Kong.

With this short holiday planned with my sisters, I worked hard to complete as many stories as possible for a stockpile and be published while I was travelling.  It was indeed a welcome break when the three sisters set out on our short trip, flying out of Kuala Lumpur to Danang in Vietnam.  The flight was rather full and when we disembarked, our attention was riveted on a group of Indonesian youths wearing uniform dark green T-shirts.  While we waited in the queue at Immigration, I read the small print on their T-shirts that hinted they are members of a school band or choir.

Signs such as this were put up throughout the beautiful
heritage town of Hoi An, Vietnam
Our driver met us at the airport and on our scenic drive into Hoi An town, I saw large banners and signboards announcing the 4th Vietnam International Choir Competition from April 29 to May 3.  I told my sisters that I guess those Indonesian youths must be here to participate in this event. 

It was our second day in Hoi An, while we were resting in bed, reading quietly after an eventful day outdoors – when I read a line in my murder-mystery novel about the investigation on members of a choir who may have witnessed the murder suspect entering the hotel where the victim was found…

My squeal must have startled both my sisters because reading about this choir suddenly reminded me of our Convent JB choir who could also be participating in the choir competition being held in Hoi An!

Ever grateful for modern technology and the free Wifi facility, I wasted no time in sending a text message to the choir’s teacher-in-charge to confirm if they were indeed here to take part in this competition.  I couldn’t get back to reading for a long while.  

I wondered about how uncanny it was that I should be in the same town in Vietnam with our JB Convent choir.  I vaguely recalled hearing that the choir was going abroad for another competition but couldn’t be sure exactly where.  It was almost 24 hours later when I received a reply from the teacher who confirmed that the choir was indeed in Hoi An for the competition!

I also found out that the choir was scheduled to perform after 2pm on Thursday afternoon.  It so happened on that same day, my sisters and I were invited to a wedding, as part of the bride’s family – the homestay operators – to go to the groom’s hometown for the wedding banquet.  [This is one of the perks of a homestay experience which I will share in a separate story!]  My sisters and I were glad that the bridal party from Hoi An were ferried back to town before 2pm and I asked the driver to drop us off at the resort hotel where the choir competition was held.

Groups of youths and uniformed children gathered in the compound helped confirm that we have arrived at the event venue.  Following the flow of people through the door, my sisters and I stepped into the foyer and there, we met the Convent JB choir gathered for a group photo!

We were just on time!  In a few minutes, they were ushered upstairs to the backstage area, to await their cue to step forward for their performance.  Meanwhile, my sisters and I took the front stairs to join the audience in the event hall to enjoy the choir’s performance.  Who would have thought that I could have the privilege of witnessing the choir’s performance in Vietnam where I was on holiday?  I couldn’t have planned it better!

1 comment:

  1. I am reading this from my homestay in Hoi An. It was quite a nice post. I am heading over to the beach soon.