If you know me more than a little bit, you know that music and baseball are my twin obsessions. A day never goes by where neither topic crosses my mind. One of the few downsides about moving to Hong Kong is that my involvement in these two things has taken a backseat to my daily routine. In college, I worked two baseball related jobs, played on an intramural softball team, studied music as my degree, worked at the college radio station and played in two different rock bands. Thus far in Hong Kong, I’ve had to dig deeper to find outlets for my passions. But with this academic year, my deep digging has paid off to some extent.
First of all, at my school, all teachers and TAs are in charge of an after school extra-curricular club of our choosing. For the first few months of this year, I’ve been leading a baseball club. It’s been a tremendous challenge directing 23 kids (only two of whom are girls) towards the basic skills of the game. Baseball is essentially non-existent in Hong Kong, so most of these kids didn’t know the first thing about America’s pastime when we started in early September. Seven weeks in, they aren’t exactly Ken Griffeys out there, but it appears they’re having a good time and trying their hardest to hit the tennis ball off the tee.
As I mentioned, this baseball club has been one of my biggest undertakings at my new school. The very first week was a basically a disaster as all 25 children, aged 4-7, ran around our school hall like crazy, giving me limited opportunities to speak to the group. I’ve since learned to raise my voice and get their attention, and with some help from our school’s PE teacher, set up a system to give them some structure for the lesson. Choosing tasks that everyone can do yet still be challenged and stimulated by has been the hardest part so far. Especially in a slower paced game like baseball. My respect for physical education instructors has gone way up since starting baseball club.
As far as musical involvement is concerned, this September, I successfully auditioned for the Hong Kong Bach Choir. A group that’s existed for 40 odd years, the HKBC is my first musical ensemble since graduating from PLU in the spring of 2011. So far, I’ve had a great time singing stellar music with some 130 Hong Kongers and expats alike. We meet once a week and rehearse under the baton of an American guy named Jerry Hoberman, whose résumé is impressive and leadership is strong. It’s not a professional group but I'd say we're fairly decent as far as amateur choirs go. They always advertise as the best choir in Hong Kong. This December, we’ll be singing Beethoven’s 9th with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate Jerry’s 20th year directing the choir. If you are reading this in HK, I hope to see you there!