Asia is host to the greatest concentration of the world’s population and one might suggest that it is here that some of the most innovative and fresh choral thoughts are emerging today. With a combined population of 4.14 billion people in 2011 (of the world’s 6.821 billion people) and with over 32 distinct countries and cultures, Asia arguably hosts the most diverse range of artistic practices bringing together a fresh and innovative blend of old traditions, diverse musical structures combined with new approaches and technologies…. and, because “choral music” is a relatively new art-form in the region it is often at the forefront of artistic innovation and compositional development with composers impatient to explore its boundless possibilities.

So, following the fourth Asia Pacific Choral Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September 2013, and under the auspices of the International Federation for Choral Music, it was decided to establish an on-going group of leading choral representatives from around the region to form a new body to further promote, stimulate and offer new directions and opportunities to this fast growing choral fraternity. Thus, the Asia Pacific Choral Council was born!

ASIA PACIFIC CHORAL COUNCIL
The Council consists of one representative per country in the Asia Pacific region and two Advisors from IFCM ExCom or Board.

      • Jacob Chang, Republic of Korea
      • Soundarie David, Sri Lanka
      • Yoshihiro Egawa, Japan
      • Igelese Ete, Pacific Islands
      • Kathy Fok, Hong Kong
      • Saeko Hasegawa, Japan
      • Pham Hong Hai, Vietnam
      • Grant Hutchinson, New Zealand
      • Johnny Ku, Taiwan
      • Emily Kuo Vong, Macau / USA
      • Stephen Leek, Australia
      • Wu Lingfen, China
      • Chew Hock Ping, Malaysia
      • Moe Naing, Myanmar
      • Aida Swenson, Indonesia
      • Kittiporn Tantrarungroj, Thailand
      • Jennifer Tham, Singapore
      • Leon Tong, Hong Kong
      • Jonathan Velasco, The Philippines
      • Nariman Wadia, India

In such a competitively orientated region of the world, the focus of the new council will be on collegiality and co-operation rather than competition. A wide range of diverse programs and projects are planned for the short and long-term future. It is hoped that over time the APCC will be able to create a diverse portfolio of developmental programs and unique opportunities for exchange to choirs of the region along the lines of other regional choral models such as are offered by the American Choral Directors Association, the European Choral Association - Europe Cantat, and Chorus America for example. At present there are two major projects underway.

One of the first projects of the Asia Pacific Choral Summit was the formation and development of the Asia Pacific Youth Choir (APYC) that in 2015 is in its fifth season. The APYC draws together some of the best young singers between the ages of 18 and 28, from around the region to work with leading recognized international conductors from the same region. The aim is to prepare and perform music that is not only representative of the countries where the singers come from, but also to provide a demanding and inspiring choral experience that transcend local borders. Singers are required to sing in several local languages and share musical styles native to their regions. The APYC has the very great honour of performing in the opening concert of the WSCM in Korea later this year. A project such as the APYC not only cements the friendships of the next generation of young choral musicians but also creates an awareness of cultural differences and similarities – the philosophy “Connecting our choral world” that is at the heart and core of the IFCM, the APCC and the APYC.

The second major project underway is a new initiative from the IFCM which is being trialled in the Asia Pacific region under the auspices of the APCC.

The IFCM Choral Partnerships Program targets a strong need which has been identified by the IFCM, to connect choirs across countries within the same region: to offer assistance, expertise, exchanges, etc… and to build concrete choral and cultural bridges across borders. This is a project built on long-term friendship, real exchange, co-operation and artistic communication.
This innovative program is designed to partner choirs and conductors with choirs and conductors in other countries of the same region, thereby maintaining and developing cultural, choral and artistic understanding and diversity. Through suggestions from an IFCM Choral Partnerships Package, participating choirs are encouraged to explore a wide range of exchange activities and possibilities. The outcomes are entirely dependent on their needs and mutual desires of the participating choirs.

The APCC has established a small team of volunteers who administer the program and act as the initial bridge for connecting compatible choirs and conductors. As the projects develop, the IFCM and APCC assist participating choirs with the promotion of the relationship through the IFCM publications and website, the APCC website and Facebook page, and also through consultation with other IFCM members. To participate in this opportunity choirs must be members of the IFCM and enter in the spirit of the program by signing a letter of agreement between the two parties which outlines the responsibilities and a time line for involvement.

The benefits of this program includes but are not limited to:

      • Sharing skills and expertise
      • Sharing local repertoire
      • Nurturing the work of regional composers
      • Sharing and enhancing the diversity of local cultural flavours
      • Fostering interpersonal exchanges
      • Creating  exchanges and opportunities for touring
      • Developing cultural relationships and understanding
      • Creating and developing true friendships through choral music – real and virtual
      • Seeding collaborations in:
      • Joint concerts
      • New touring opportunities
      • commissions
      • conductor exchanges
      • chorister exchanges
      • scholarships
      • sourcing funding

….. and any number of other imaginable possibilities.

So, the waves of the choral movement in the Asia Pacific region are continuing to grow and flourish.  In the 21st Century the Asia Pacific region is a very vibrant and exciting part of the choral world to be living in, and, with the establishment of the Asia Pacific Choral Council, the choral “movers and shakers” of the region working together, a very bright future for choral music in the region is assured.

For more information about the
Asia Pacific Choral Council and the Asia Pacific Youth Choir please contact:
international@jcnet.or.jp and for the

IFCM Choral Partnership Program in the Asia Pacific Region please contact:
ifcm-apcc@live.jp