It's so heartwarming and enjoyable to make music with old partners, great friends and other excellent musician at the Lo Wu Correctional Institution. The audience were so enthusiastic and passionate that I could barely hold my tears at those touching moments.
Jensen Lung, concertmaster
So blessed to have taken part in such a meaningful event yesterday with such an amazing team! I learnt that the little things we could do for some people can really brighten up their days and bring hope to them in times of hopelessness. We did a simple but very grand 1-hour concert with orchestra and acapella for them, and it brought them so much joy that they'll apparently lose sleep thinking about it and recalling their time with us, and they'll remember this concert for days to come, and be able to tell you years from now what songs we played and which ones they loved most.
The impact was so real for me. The reality and scale of everything really hit me when I walked through those gates and saw the dull walls, the rolls of barbed wire set atop them, the gate after gates that open one at a time after the one behind you is closed, the security checks and guards, and all the other cold reminders inside the institute that tell you you are not getting out anytime soon. To think that someone like me, maybe a bit older, maybe younger, would have to stay there for a lifetime or long period of time makes me shudder. It really pained me to see how horrifying it is to be stuck in a single place for such a long time with probably only an hour or less of free time everyday to step outside and take in a breath of fresh air. To imagine one year of that is already unexplainably difficult for me, but to thing of 5,10,20 years and a lifetime in prison... is absolutely unimaginable for me. But some people are indeed going through this - HAVE gone through 5-10 years of this already....
That really makes me think. We seriously should be more grateful for everything we have. In our modern society the media tells us that we need to keep up with the latest trends, the latest gadgets, the latest accessories, the latest luxury items and if you don't follow, you're not good enough, you're outdated, you're not cool or accepted anymore. No, rethink this. The freedom to wake up in our own beds every morning, the freedom to step outside everyday and think "ah it's a new day!" and rush to work even if it means we're in a swarm of people painstakingly waiting for the MTR, the freedom to do business, the freedom to invest and think of how we'll accomplish the impossible task of buying a house, the freedom to study and learn, and on holidays, the freedom to go anywhere we like, the freedom to travel, the freedom to eat whatever we want, the freedom to say whatever we want, the freedom to meet friends... SO much freedom.
I realized that instead of always focusing on things like the newest phone or latest luxury items or latest trends in fashion, and worrying about how we're going to get a better job with better pay so that we can save up for our next holiday, we really need to rethink our priorities. What do we actually need? What do we really want? And more importantly, what is our purpose in life?
The smiles on the faces of the inmates really moved me deeply. We did 4 one-hour concerts for groups of around 200 inmates, and they sang at the top of their lungs some of the songs which they knew, and after each song they roared their support, the best audience any performer could ask for, screaming their hearts out and not caring to losing their voices. They displayed such support because this is all they've got. This concert is the highlight of their time at the institution. They were so happy that some of them were in tears during the performance, and others beaming with joy roaring their support and clapping and waving at the end of the concert. And as they were escorted to leave, many of them yelled:"Thank you so much!! Thank you so much! I'm so happy! You make me so happy today! Thank you!!" Those words were coming from the most honest of hearts, and the trueness of those words really rocked my soul like a tidal wave. It really touched me to know that what little I could do to serve them already brought them such joy. I felt so honored to be able to make such a great impact on someone's life. I realized that we must always cherish chances to serve and bless people - even if it's just giving a cup of water to a child. It may not seem like much to us, but it could mean the world to that precious child.
In summary, what an experience! Team, it was such an honor to serve with you! And I pray that I'll be able to give these beautiful people more than just concerts in the future.
Jeremy Wu, drummer/percussionist