Taiwan’s Customs Choir, also known as the Guan Sheng Choir (關聲合唱團), performed a flash mob at the lounge of the Customs Building located in downtown Taipei at noontime on January 25, 2018 to mark the Lunar New Year of the Dog.
Please watch this video of Taiwan’s Customs Choir’s New Year flash mob:
The Guan Sheng Choir is composed of incumbent and retired customs officers and their spouses who enjoy singing. With the support of then Customs Director General Jan De-Ho (詹德和) and his wife, who used to be the honorary director of the choir, Taiwan‘s Customs Choir was established in March 1992. It was organized to reduce officers’ stress and to enhance friendship among the officers and their families.
The Customs Choir is a sub-organization of the Customs Staff Club (海關同仁進修會), and is subsidized by customs authorities to cover the cost of a visiting instructor. In its peak in the 1990s, there were over 130 participants.
Participants of the Customs Choir get together at the Customs Administration’s (關務署) auditorium to practice one hour per week during the noon break. Although most of the choir’s members are usually busy at work or at home, and only have a minimum amount of time to practice, their performances have been outstanding.
In addition to performing at Customs’ major events, such as the Customs Lunar New Year Greeting Gathering and farewell parties for international conferences and retiring employees, the group also participates in local choral competitions.
Representing the Ministry of Finance, the choir won second place at the Taiwan Central Government Agencies Choral Completion in the 1990s. It has also participated in various charity performances, including a grand charity performance at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall for three years in a row, which was highly acclaimed by the audience.
At the New Year flash mob, nine classical pieces were performed, including Deo Dicamus Gratias, Irish Blessing, a famous Taiwanese song entitled Bon Voyage (快樂的出帆), as well as popular Chinese songs such as Friendship (友情), Monologue Under the Wide Sky (長空下的獨白), and School Boy (讀書郎).
Taiwan’s Customs Choir has played an important role over the years by providing a public face (and voice) to Taiwan’s Customs service, and enhancing the friendship between incumbent and retired officers and their families.