Abigail Lui provides us with Hope

Through her music, winner of the 2019 BGGS Vocal Composition Competition, Abigail Lui (12O), found a special way to share her thoughts on the COVID-19 Pandemic while learning remotely. With assistance from staff and members of the acapella group, Vocal Australia, Abigail recorded a stunning performance of her work, ‘Hope’. Below, she explains the inspiration for the piece.

My inspiration to compose Hope came from a desire to create something beautiful during a time of great disruption and uncertainty. In light of the concerning events currently happening around the world, I wanted to remind our community of the positive things also happening right now, and the kindness being shown by others.

With this in mind, I was drawn to the words of a poem I’d read, called Lockdown, by Richard Hendrick. In particular, I was struck by the lines:

‘… after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear,’

I thought, these words are begging to be set with rich, dissonant harmonies! Hendrick’s line ‘you can hear the birds again’ was a wonderful way to encapsulate this idea of searching for hope in every circumstance, and this refrain came to form the linchpin of the piece.

I was fortunate to be able to record my composition alongside several members of the acapella group, Vocal Australia. We recorded each of the parts separately online and layered them together to create a virtual performance, which I felt was a wonderful realisation of my vision for the piece.

From Hope’s conception I felt it was incredibly important not to gloss over the current global crises, but instead to acknowledge that, as the lyrics read, ‘Yes there is fear, yes there is sickness, yes there is pain, yes there is death,’ but even in the darkest of times we can still ‘hear the birds sing,’ and they will always ‘sing a song of hope for those who will hear it.’

Abigail Lui (12O)