We saw her for the first time on the International Student Talent Show in Zhongbei Campus last October. She was wearing a gorgeous gown with a radiant smile on her face, singing Red by Taylor Swift. As she opened her mouth, everyone started to sing along with her.
She kindled the atmosphere of joy, passion and excitement among the audience. The lovely girl on stage is Riena Joie Moreno Quero, a freshman in International Business Department of ECNU.
Actually, this 17-year-old girl from the Philippines is already a well-known singing star in ECNU. In this section, we are going to approach Riena Joie and explore the story of her life and her love for music.
Philippine girl's close tie to Shanghai and ECNU
Riena Joie Moreno Quero is a pretty Philippine girl with delicate features and long black hair. She has a fair skin complexion and always wears a brilliant smile. She speaks fluent English and very good Chinese. Actually, she has spent more time in Shanghai than many of the Chinese students in ECNU.
Riena Joie was born on June 29, 1997. Back in 2000, when she was only three years old, she came to Shanghai with her mother to see her father, who was working as a quality consultant in a foreign company since 1996. In the following years, she would spend about three months each year in Shanghai. In 2006, Riena Joie’s mother moved to Shanghai, so Riena and her elder brother both continued their education here.
Riena Joie studied from Grade 4 to Grade 6 in Philippine School in Shanghai under the Philippine curriculum, and then continued from Grade 6 to Grade 9 in Fudan Vanke Experimental Private School under the Chinese curriculum. In 2013, Reina Joie returned to the Philippines for evaluation of her courses under both the Chinese and the Philippine curriculum. She continued an additional year to finish her senior high school and passed with excellent grades. Therefore, she was eligible for the application of universities. She took the college admission test for foreigners in Shanghai and passed HSK Level 5.
Reina Joie’s choice of a university in Shanghai was no surprise to anyone. But why ECNU? Riena says that the first time she visited the Zhongbei campus, she was impressed by its scale and beauty. “There were trees, lawns, rivers and grand teaching buildings. Many people were walking, chatting or reading in the campus. It was a beautiful and harmonious scene. I did not worry about getting lost, as there was always someone to show me the way. I fell in love with ECNU immediately.”
To Riena Joie, studying in ECNU is as interesting as living in a global village. All her classmates are from different countries, so she can learn a lot from them, such as their dialects, cultures and customs. She likes her teachers and enjoys the light-hearted learning environment. “ECNU is the best university in my heart”, Riena says.
Love and enjoy music
Riena Joie’s talent for music is inherited from her mother who was a music scholar from grade school till college. She did not pay any tuition fee to school because she was a school choir member and could play percussion instruments plus she could sing well. Under her mother’s influence, Riena became interested in music from childhood.
Riena Joie’s public singing experience started in Fudan Vanke Experimental Private School soon after she came to Shanghai. Once her teacher required all the students to perform at a party, and the pupils took turns to show their talent. When it was Riena’s turn, she sang a song. All the teachers and students were amazed at her explosive voice and strong power to hold the stage. Since then, Riena has been considered as a music talent. She has participated in many competitions and performed on behalf of her school in various occasions. In 2012, she was chosen to sing in a big event, the Minhang Fouding Anniversary for the mayor and government officials of Minhang District on behalf of Fudan Vanke. For Riena, that was an unforgettable and inspiring experience. Riena Joie became a member of Our Lady of Sheshan(OLOS) Choir in February, 2012 at St. Peter’s Church. St. Peter’s is a Catholic church near Xintiandi. Every Sunday, Riena goes there to practice songs for Mass for an hour as long as she can make time for it. “There we learn to take care of our voice and sing out with our heart.”
During her first year in ECNU, Riena Joie attended many parties and singing competitions. In December, 2014, Riena Joie participated in the Talent Show of the Eighth International Cultural Festival. She felt very proud to demonstrate the Philippine culture for the ECNUers. In April 2015, Riena Joie joined the 11th Foreign Songs Singing Competition held in Fudan University. Of the 26 contestants, Riena Joie excelled in the preliminary and semi-final contests and ranked among top 10. She was invited to sing in the New Year’s Celebration of the Dept. of Chinese as a Foreign Language. Riena Joie is most proud of winning Championship in the 11th ECNU Sino-Foreign Language Singing Competition. It was an elimination contest. Riena Joie sang four songs altogether, including Fire in Winter+ Sexy Music, Price Tag and Courage. She won with her last song Titanium that was sung unaccompanied by any instruments. Riena Joie says she enjoyed the whole process of audition, rehearsal and performance. Winning the championship was beyond her expectation, but was certainly exhilarating.
Of course, Riena Joie’s beautiful voice is not just the result of her natural gift, but also the fruit of her painstaking efforts. She used to have stage fright, so she trained herself to look at the audience in the eye. “Since you are an entertainer, you should not be afraid of standing on the stage.” Now she feels easy and relaxed whenever she sings in public. Before giving a performance, Riena will practice many times for perfection, Riena Joie’s mother is her best teacher in music, her father is her best choreographer and her brother is her best IT. Sometimes she will consult the teachers in the music department if she has problems.
Riena Joie tells us that she enjoys singing and values the process of the performance much more highly than the prize she can get. She says that she will continue to sing at parties and enter for more singing competitions in the future.
Look to the future
As Riena Joie was born and grew up in the Philippines, she has a deep affection towards her hometown. She says she loved to sing and dance at home when she was little. There are beautiful seashores and all kinds of delicious fruits there, like mangoes, bananas and jackfruits. It is a really nice place.
After living and studying here for so many years, Shanghai has become her second hometown, “Here live my father, my mother, my brother and I, so I find here a life in proportion to the beauty back home.”
Riena Joie Moreno Quero now majors in International Business of the Department of the Chinese Language. She learns both Chinese and English communication, and knowledge about trade and economy. Riena Joie says that this is partly because her parents are both engaged in business transactions so she is interested in this field. She may attend graduate school to further her study in the future and carry on her father’s foreign trade business in Shanghai. Riena says Shanghai is a big Metropolis brimming with opportunities for the young people. She likes the openness, diversity, and fast pace of life here. Working and living in this city with her family in the future can be a good choice.
So how to balance these two? Riena Joie says, “I’d love to learn more so that I can have some big opportunities to go to different places. I would appreciate it if I could pursue a career as a singer or something related to this. However, business is also what I love. Let’s just wait and see what will happen.”
This is Riena Joie Moreno Quero. Young as she is, she is open-minded about her career and future and always holds a bright smile towards life. We believe that bathed in the great love of music, Riena Joie will enjoy a beautiful life in the future.
Source: ECNU Circle