The support from people: my experience in A Cappella and Gbus community

By Dorothy CHOU

Choir has been a big part of my life ever since I was little. Over the years, the lessons I learned from choir have accompanied me through different stages of life, and eventually shaped me into the person I am right now.

Choir, to me, is a huge family with usually sixty to seventy members. The biggest one I’ve joined had over 400 people. What I love about choir is how so many people can concentrate on the same thing and focus on the conductor’s hands gestures to project our voices beyond the stage, as if we are painting in the air with harmonies. Every single person in the group is extremely crucial; it is the presence of the group as a whole that makes the entire performance meaningful. One of the conductors that I have worked with used to tell us, “Cherish every moment singing together. Isn’t it amazing that even we don’t exactly know each other but still create art together at the same time?”. All these experiences shaped my understanding of teamwork and leadership.

Leaving Taiwan and coming to HKUST, I joined a smaller choir: the a cappella team. It has been an extraordinary experience. Unlike traditional choirs that I am used to, the HKUST a capella group has less than 10 people singing together when performing on stage. Each note has to be precise, and everyone in the group has to be firm and supportive of one another. It is a whole new level of teamwork and a perfect display of “co-leadership”.  Members are all from different places, with different music backgrounds, different tune quality and different singing habits. In order to sound like ONE group, we need to establish a new level of intimacy between each member; which means we build trust by disclosing each of our weakness, and knowing that we will help each other out when needed. It is the disclosure of our own insecurity that makes the group even stronger and more close-bonded. Working in a small group, I also learn about the art of when to voice out and when to display silence. Sometimes, it’s better to keep quiet and listen to others carefully. Only by doing so can I adjust myself to fit into the chords, blend in with the sounds, or the atmosphere of the music. Other times, I may need to raise my voice, either become a support for others, or guide the music towards some direction. I pour my understandings and feelings into the music, and contribute to the performance on stage.

Being a part of the global business community is very challenging but very fruitful at the same time. There are so many talented and hard-working people here, and we are all close-knitted as a big family. At first, I was very worried that my weakness would disappoint my peers, and I constantly gave myself a lot of pressure while comparing myself with others. However, the GBUS community was actually giving me the biggest support than I could ever imagine. My mindset has slowly shifted from being afraid of letting my friends down, into positively wanting to be as good as them. During my first year of living in Hong Kong, I had some difficulties adapting to the life here. It was the support from the people around me that helped me get through the chaos and find the way out. Through the process, I learned that people are the most valuable asset in any circumstances. In every rehearsal, we voice out to find harmony; on the study path as a GBUSer, we reach out to support each other. It is so far my second year as a GBUSer, and I am fully charged and excited about the journey in the coming years.