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Digging a Hole

Posted by on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 in Blair School of Music, Music, Winter Break.

To China!

Well, let’s just dive in, shall we?  As I was mentioning in my last post, the Vanderbilt Orchestra is going to be going on tour to China!  We’ve known about this trip since the summer of 2011, so with the approach of our departure in under a week, I am still a bit apathetic towards the whole thing.  Bazinga!  I am ecstatic!  More than excited for the imminent approach of a musical adventure in a land far, far away!

Our rehearsals run from December 20-23 with two two-hour rehearsals each day, one starting at 10:30 a.m. and the other beginning at 2:30 p.m.  We’ll rehearse and run-though our repertoire, which consists of distinctly American works, like “Hoe Down” and the “Cowboy Overture“, lively waltzes, like the “Blue Danube” and “Emperor“, and a few Chinese pieces, like the “Dance of the Yao” and “Good News from Beijing“.  These four days will be ones of intense preparation for our tour; our conductor really wishes for us to be ready so he’s even sent us a few videos beforehand so we can listen to specific recordings!

Dance of the Yao, YouTube

Click on the above link to listen!

If you are still in Nashville, please join us for our send-off concert!  It will be a real mock performance of our slightly-cliché, super-fun program for China.  Sunday, December 23rd at 8 p.m. in Ingram Hall at the Blair School of Music!  See you there!

Blue Danube, YouTube

Click on the link to listen to this classic crowd-pleaser.

Leaving by bus to head over to Atlanta’s international airport on the evening of Christmas Eve, I believe there are three different planes that will be taking our orchestra of around seventy-five in groups over to Shanghai.  From there, we will be crossing the Pacific on Christmas Day.  I plan on smuggling a couple of homemade Christmas carol booklets so we can sing on the plane.  Also, Vanderbilt was so sweet in allowing Dmitri to accompany me through the trip.  By the evening of December 26, we will have arrived at our destination: China.

Hopefully Delta is nicer than British Airways and poor Dmitri won't have to spend the whole voyage upside down.

From there, it’ll be go, go, go.  Rehearsal, show, pack up and travel to the next city, rehearsal, show, pack up… you get the picture.  The cities that we’ll be visiting are Xingtai, Nanjing, Yancheng, Beijing and Yantai.  We are using all sorts of transportation, which will be interesting, from the plane to the bus to the high-speed train.  Accounting for weariness during our travels, a strange concept that just sitting in a bus or plane for a few hours can take so much out of you, they have planned coffee breaks in the middle of each day.

The tour manager recently sent us an itinerary and she included a few interesting tidbits.  For instance, you are allowed to be a tiny bit jealous that we are going to be living in this hotel for two nights.  In addition, our last day in China isn’t going to include a performance; rather, we are going to be exploring one of the wonders of the world: the Great Wall of China!

Just a snip of the Nianfa 168 Hotel. No big deal.

Yes, I am thoroughly excited to go on a trip halfway around the world – for free, thank you Vanderbilt!  While this will be the first Christmas that I have ever been from my family and friends back in Maryland and I’ll miss them all thoroughly, in a way, it’ll be all right…because I have my Blair family.

P.S. We might also perform for Hu Jintao… the Chinese president himself!  Bazinga!

P.P.S. Digging a hole to China?  Bazinga!

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