Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Two

Waking up to a crisp morning in Shanghai is just extraordinary - because we've managed to get everyone here smoothly and because NOW, the real fun begins, the sight-seeing, the hilarious moments we'll remember forever, the brand new experiences and the bonds formed that will last a lifetime. We also have our first concert today and I'm looking forward to hearing the choir - I think the strong connection amongst the choristers, staff and parents is going to help create the momentum behind some special performances.

I am also really looking forward to watching how each student grows, personally and musically, over the next 18 days. Travel has that effect of shaping people that normal life cannot - and it's "leap of faith time" for the students. Come what may, each will need to find a way to cope.

Brighton received some great feedback yesterday when the Qantas staff on our Shanghai flight called our students "mature-minded, friendly, well-mannered." We are also happy to report that Qantas has not let us down yet!

Today was the day of our first concert. Students soon understood that body heat was not a sufficient ironing agent! I never though I'd see the day where our principal would be ironing shirts for the students at her school, but we quickly discovered Olivia's sensational ironing skills as she whipped through shirts at breakneck speed to make sure our students looked pristine. We've also discovered that stockings and socks are the most forgotten items on the uniform checklist.

We had a relaxed morning of sight-seeing at the Oriental Pearl Tower and then arrived at the Lu Wan Activity Centre for lunch and our concert.

And this is where the fun began: we managed to inhale lunch, scramble into our uniforms and get into "performance mode" in about 28 minutes - nothing short of extraordinary. I was so impressed with how the choir managed and presented themselves today; they were professional and nobody would have known the mayhem that they had to calmly work their way through just minutes beforehand. Total legends.

In between our own numbers, we were treated to several vibrant, colorful performances from the local primary schools. We collectively marvelled at the poise and professionalism of these young students, their determination to give their best and their commitment to excellence. I also picked up several fantastic choreography ideas, although I'm still wondering how I'll incorporate a ping pong bat into my 2011 choral program.

The audience loved our rendition of "Isn't She Lovely," featuring the fabulous duo of Jack de la Lande and Mark Oakley, in their animated vocal sparring match. The battle continues!

We finished off the evening with an entertaining dinner where we watched several people do battle with noodles, chopsticks and trying to get anything into their food bowls and not all over the table. A cruise on the Bund River made for a spectacular finish to our second day.

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