Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Four

A mammoth day!!! After a much needed sleep-in, we left the hotel at 10am bound for the Jing An Temple, which got high-jacked and turned into our third shopping expedition. We went to a shopping mall in the Jing An district, where "real" imitation name brand sunnies, bags, watches and shoes were all to go. Approximately half the choir out-fitted themselves with new Converse shoes. Students and parents with light brown or blonde hair learnt to run away fast from the more vicious vendors. Darren and Katie Williams are dangerous when they have their eye on a bargain. Several of the parents and staff went exploring on the local streets and Mr Bentley and Mel, our travel agent extraordinaire, decided to see just exactly how fast 400+ kilometers per hour feels on the bullet train, or the Maglev. Both came back happily rattling.

We had two concerts today, our first at the Jing An Activity Centre and the second at the Yellow Flower School. We have been lucky to have the close connection of Veronica O'Young, Jeffrey's sister, helping with an enormous part of the organisation and publicity of the concerts.

Something the students, Andrew and I have quickly added to our skills has been the art of massed, frantic communal changing. Modesty flew out the window as girls and guys in separate classrooms scrambled their way into uniform and made themselves look presentable. Our first concert showcased a few of our soloists: Jess Archbold, Ben Betelli and Callum Gunn - Callum playing on a striking albino-white piano! Our performance of Hamba Lulu at this concert has been our best so far, with the audience enjoying our energy and choreography and the choir really getting into their performance stride.

Following this concert, we were treated to a magnificent art show by the students of the Yellow Flower School. The talent and nurture behind these works was just breath-taking. Even more moving was Veronica and the school's desire to create strong bonds amongst our schools, evidenced by gestures like the big banner they'd put up on the wall for us all to sign and celebrate our visit.

Our second concert was as the Shanghai Conservatorium, where we were guest artists in a concert showcasing the best of the local dance and piano school in that area. On a magnificent stage, the Concert Choir gave fabulous renditions of "Tides of Ocean," "Mary, Did You Know?" and "Click Go the Shears" - so good, in fact the the closing credits with the clap-along presentation of all the performers that descended upon us two numbers too early!! Imagine the comic hilarity when we realised that we had been clapped off stage because the audience and performers were so excited to hear "Click Go the Shears"!!

Andrew and the kids handled it admirably. I did not go so well keeping a straight face!

Tonight also gave Chamber Boys Choir a chance to showcase their work and beautifully developing sound.

After a huge day, we tucked into our suppers of Chinese pizza (those who were truly lucky scored pizzas with a topping combo of banana, tinned fruit, BBQ sauce and mayonnaise!) and the fell promptly to sleep, totally wiped from a big day.

Sent from my iPad

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