Visiting surgeon Peter Zhou was singing from the heart at the Sydney Opera House as part of the 300-strong Sydney Canaan Choir. The associate professor is a vascular surgeon from Shanghai Renji Hospital, and is working at Centenary for a year.
After months of preparation, the choir formed a blue and white cross on the stage of the Concert Hall and sang their “Heavenly Song” concert in front of an audience of more than 2000 people.
Associate Professor Zhou has only been here a couple of months, but was thrilled to join the choir—he sings tenor in church choirs back home and has even been a semi-professional singer in Shanghai.
When he’s not singing, Associate Professor Zhou is trying to understand what causes deadly aneurysms (bulges) in the aorta, the largest artery in the body. He’s looking at certain molecules that seem to manage or control the endothelium—the cells that line the aorta and the rest of the 80,000 km of pipelines that carry essential supplies to all parts of our body.
That’s why he’s in Australia and working with Centenary’s Professor Jenny Gamble, the inaugural holder of the University of Sydney Wenkart Chair in Endothelium Medicine at the Centenary Institute.
The hymns in “Heavenly Song” have a special meaning.
The words and melodies were crafted by Mrs Xiao Ming, who grew up in a small village in Henan province in China and left school at an early age and yet with no musical training produced more than 1500 songs, many of which are sung by Chinese Christians all over the world because of their heartfelt beauty.
A promotional video of “Heavenly Song” is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBLmVjJqi-A&