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The fifty members of the Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Choir have built a varied repertoire practicing English hymns and show tunes numbers from Andrew Lloyd Webber and the Beatles, the British press reports.
However, the singers have never received professional training and speak limited English.
Tonight the choir is to join the Philharmonia Orchestra to perform Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and traditional folk songs at the Royal Festival Hall. They will be conducted by Long Yu, who is well-known worldwide.
The performance is part of the capital’s many initiatives to celebrate Chinese New Year and comes at the end of a tour which has included concerts in Oxford, Liverpool, Birmingham and Lincoln Centre in New York to promote cultural links between UK and China.
The Xiaoshuijing Farmers’ Choir ancestors learned to sing choral music under the influence of Christian missionaries; as a consequence of their singing traditions, which are dated back to 1930s, the choir is very poupular across China.
They are part of the Miao minority ethnic group, which is based in a remote village in the Yunnan Province and this is the first time they travel abroad.