Child's Play (India) Foundation

Our new Choral Director shares her first thoughts about life in Goa

Hello! My name is Claire Hughes and I’m the new choral director here with Child’s Play India Foundation. I’m originally from the UK, but have now been living here in Goa for a month. Since I’ve started working with the charity, we have established regular rehearsals with children at Hamara and Auxilium schools, and have started a community choir project which is open to all children from the age of 7 onward. I’ve loved getting to know the children in these projects, and I hope they’ve enjoyed working with me so far. It’s also been a pleasure to get to know some of the other teachers here at Child’s Play.

Before coming here, I had previously lived in England and on the East Coast of the USA, but this is my first time in Asia! While there are some cultural differences (and certainly some differences in the weather!), there is still plenty that we have in common. It has been fascinating to see some of the festivals and festivities taking place here, such as the Monte music festival in Old Goa, and the Sur Jahan festival at the Kala Academy in Panjim. These festivals displayed both local and international musical acts, as well as an eclectic variety of genres. And then there was Carnaval! February seems to be a special time to be in Goa and I’m thankful I was able to be here.

Claire at our audition for young singers in February. She now teaches over 70 children including children of Child’s Play and a community choir.

This past weekend marked the first performance since I arrived involving some of the children in the project, and I must congratulate the children of Auxilium school on their beautiful singing! As part of a benefit concert with Swedish Choir Sångförenningen Qöhr, (led by Cecilia Q Öhrwall), we collaborated on a Swedish Song together (sung in English). I accompanied as Cecelia conducted, and it was clear that both choirs were delighted to sing with each other. Cecilia has such vibrancy and contagious energy in the way she works with the kids. We’re hoping to invite the Sångförenningen Qöhr back with us next weekend to hold a workshop for all the children in our project, so that we can learn more from each other.

It’s been an intriguing and exciting first month here, and I hope the following months will continue in this fashion. We’ll be looking to hold a summer camp for choir and orchestra later in the year, and we shall be working towards our monsoon concert in the summer. Thank you to Luis and Chryselle Dias for welcoming me on board and for all their help as I settle in!

– February 27, 2018, Panjim Goa