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Hong Kong harmonicas get the Shanghai Expo crowds humming (with photos)

Hong Kong's acclaimed harmonica orchestra left audiences at World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) humming their approval after an energetic and eclectic set of performances today (October 19).

The Hong Kong Harmonica Association's "Harmonica Extravaganza for EXPO" featured a dazzling array of musical works, from classic to folk and from Western to Oriental.

The programme included solo, rhythmic trio, collaborative ensemble and band performances.

The most stunning performance was by the 80-member harmonica orchestra playing Hong Kong original compositions to the delight of the audience at Baosteel Stage (Small) in Shanghai Expo Park this morning.

Among the works were Hui Cheung-wai's "Jubilee Overture", the world's first original composition for harmonica orchestra composed in 2000, and his other work "Elite Gathering", which was composed in 2002 for Hong Kong to promote in Japan the hosting of the "5th Asia-Pacific Harmonica Festival 2004 in Hong Kong".

Adding more Hong Kong touches, the orchestra also played Joseph Koo's "Beneath the Lion Rock", which was specially arranged by Dr Mui Kwong-chiu, Music Director of the Hong Kong Week opening ceremony, World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, for the occasion.

In the afternoon concert at Shanghai Expo Park's Celebration Square, the group played a variety of familiar works, from Baroque to traditional Mainland folk tunes, using different performance combinations such as solo, trio, ensemble and the 30-member harmonica band.

"Harmonica is the musical instrument most played in the world. By 'blowing' and 'drawing' you create music and harmony at the same time. The word 'harmony' and the name of this simple instrument 'harmonica' are derived from the same root," said Vice President of the Hong Kong Harmonica Association, Rocky Lok.

"Beautiful notes come when the player 'breathes in and out' in harmony with nature. This also echoes the Shanghai Expo theme - 'Better City, Better Life'."

Established in 2002, the Hong Kong Harmonica Association includes champions and winners from international and world-class harmonica competitions. It has gained international repute in Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Germany.

Hong Kong Week is the highlight of Hong Kong's participation in Shanghai Expo. For details, please visit www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.