The band is the first Concordia music ensemble to tour and perform in China.
The band performed five standing-room-only concerts on college campuses, stayed with Chinese families for a day and night in Chongqing, climbed the Great Wall, visited the world-famous Panda research sanctuary in Chengdu and drew a crowd of the curious at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
“This tour really showed me how music can bridge all differences,” says trumpet player Mary Kate Sershen ’12.
“I was a little apprehensive before going on this trip because I thought that differences in language, culture and food would be difficult to overcome, but I found that it really didn’t matter,” says Sershen, a veteran of two international and eight domestic music tours.
“As I was sitting on stage hearing the enthusiastic applause from those packed audiences who had never heard a concert band before, I realized how similar people are everywhere and how truly blessed us band members were to be experiencing this in China,” she says.
Two universities that have enrollment agreements with Concordia, United International College in Zhuhai and Sichuan International Studies University in Chongqing, drew especially large and enthusiastic audiences of students and faculty.
There were many concert highlights, starting with Dr. Jay Hershberger’s masterful piano performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” the four-part joyful sounds of the ”Suite from the ballet ‘Pineapple Poll’” and the rousing crowd favorite to close the concerts, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” featuring the piccolo section ably supported by the trombones and trumpets.
“Rhapsody” was a clear audience favorite, and it opened with Zach Dierickx ’12 playing a soaring clarinet glissando, adding plenty of wail to establish the jazzy theme of the piece, which was beautifully held together by Hershberger’s stylish playing.
“At our concerts we made many friendships, renewed several others, and gave everyone a glimpse of what Concordia has to offer,” says Dr. Scott A. Jones, conductor of the band. “We came away from China with a very real sense of connecting with our audiences on a personal level.”