Arrigo FOA [c.1900-1981] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Arrigo FOA [c.1900-1981]

c.1900-01-01 (Year, Month, Day are approximate)
Birthplace (town, state): 
Birthplace (country): 

Arrigo Foa is buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Happy Valley. See here His life story  here


I was fascinated to see the reference to Arrigo Foa.In 1959 / 60 I was a young National Service officer in the RE based at Tailam; I was also 2nd Oboist in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Arrigo was conductor and Dr Solomon Bard the Leader. The HK Phil was then amateur not the high powered professional band it has now become. The first of ‘moddsey’s’ cross references is to Arrigo’s web page on the excellent Jewish Historical Society site. At the foot of the page I have added an anecdote about Arrigo and an orchestral rehearsal at St John’s Cathedral Hall in 1960. In the 1950s and into the 60s HK was not into culture. The fact that HK now has a number of orchestras both western and Chinese can be traced back to the work, enthusiasm and drive of Solomon Bard and Arrigo Foa.

Lovely to read those words about Arrigo Foa. 

I believe my Dad Eric GABRIEL was 1st Violinist in the orchestra playing with Monia Bard and I do remember going to rehearsals with him occasionally. Can’t remember if the City Hall was built yet or not. I met Arrigo a few times but didn’t know he was buried in the Jewish cemetery. Next time there in Shang Kwong Rd (my grandad buried there) I will look for Arrigo’s gravesite. 

Re: Soldier of Fortune. I met Clark Gable (woo handsome!) and Michael Rennie in the Lobby Of the Peninsula while they were filming in HK . Think I saw Susan Hayword (?) getting into the lift. Red hair, fair skinned - beautiful - 

Thanks for the lovely memories.

Regards Barb GABRIEL Mackenzie 

While I was head prefect at KGV, Arrigo Foa organized a Youth Orchestra. I was the only youngster he could locate who played the trombone (at least I had one and he thought I could play it!!)  We practiced and practiced in Kowloon Tong at the home of an eye surgeon who encouraged me even though I was terrible at reading the notes and [playing when I should and not when I should have!!]  We had our first concert in the Lee Theatre.. It was a BIG deal but that did not help me with the trombone..One time in the concert Mr Foa gave me a look that would have killed a horse. Evidently I was playing from a previous chart than the one I should have been on!! We had a good laugh after the concert and My mother was never so proud of me as she was when we left with me carrying my trombone!!  Never played it again since that night of fame..

Barbara Fei was also a soloist of the Hong Kong Oratorio Society which I sang in for two years from it’s inception. The director invited me to his studio for singing lessons, heard me and told me I would be wasting my time and my parents money.. That is the extent of my MUSIC history.

Regards, John

Thanks John for that very amusing story... had to smile I must admit. Actually it reminded me of a story when we lived in Braga Circuit and Dad was practicing scales or what not on his violin in the bedroom with the door closed. Our Tibetan Terrier at the time (inherited him and his name, Johnnie) was sitting outside the door and suddenly started to howl.. I mean a real "ah-woooo" - must have lasted for 10 minutes until Dad stopped playing.We laughed so much!!