|Sunrise over the Yangzee|
We had a late start today for a change as our first stop was not all that far away: the Foreign Language School of Wuhan, one of the top high schools in China. This school is where our Christine (the owner of the specialty company we deal with for our China arrangements) graduated. It is a boarding school, founded just over 50 years ago. 600 students now attend the school, K- 12: 70% of the elementary students board and 30% of the high school students do so.
|The campus of Foreign Language School of Wuhan|
Today, we performed for a large group of the high school students, but as we could not fit the entire band on stage, our “stars” of the day were the trombone quartet, the saxophone quartet, trumpet quartet and the percussion ensemble. Each of these groups performed a few numbers, then we spent some time greeting/meeting students and enjoying the chance to once again meet “real” Chinese people! (We even got to eat in their school cafeteria!)
|The Sax Quartet|
Tonight’s concert was at the performing arts hall here in Wuhan, the Hubei Theatre. This is a beautiful, modern structure – I’m not sure how old it is, but it sits near the banks of the Yangzee River and beneath the Yellow Crane Tower and is known for it’s “swoop” roof shape. The exterior is mostly glass, and it really is a lovely place. Best of all, as we learned tonight, the sound is top-notch.
|Hubei Theatre interior|
We’ve learned that most buildings south of the Yangzee in China are not heated. The kids in school wear their coats much of the day indoors, and our rehearsal time at the theatre was darn right frigid. Yet the heat was pouring out the vents tonight at the concert, and we felt most comfortable! Heat is expensive……but we were grateful to have it!
|Augie Band on stage|
Tomorrow we meet up with Augie Alumn Phil Mulder who was with the Band in 2007 when it visited China. He’s now teaching in a city about two hours south of here by train. We’re looking forward to seeing him and having him with us as we tour the Provincial Museum and visit the famous Yellow Crane Tower. More tomorrow night!
|Sometimes, the signs tickle my funny bone.....:-)|
Weather today – sunny (smoggy) and mid-50’s yet again!
And now, some words from Allison West who is reflecting upon her visit to the Jade Temple in Shanghai last week:
Here, religion is very different. The three main religions, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism do not have a single God that is worshipped as is in Christianitym but each religion does have an aspect of being good and aiding the community. It seems to me that all religions share this message: be good to one another. Even very far from home, I can see that no matter where you are in the world, all people really need for religion is a belief in humanity being good and spreading kindness.
The Buddhist temple we visited was far from any church that I have been to, but the aura of prayer and well wishes for the world was the same as any place back home. The world is bound together by religion and human desire to believe that there is something bigger than us and something more to life than death. Even all the way in China, this is clear. This was especially visible in a room upstairs where a jade Buddha statue stood and calm music played. Gone was the tourism aspect with cameras and crowd and loud voices. In this room, photos were not allowed and the air of respect and prayer were fully abound.
I think the part of being a Christian is listening to other people’s beliefs and respecting the customs and traditions of others. Going to the temple did not make me feel an aversion to Buddhism, but rather allowed me to further embrace my own beliefs and respect the beliefs of others.
It is in prayer that one can see that the Chinese aren’t so different from us. This culture on the other side of the world holds the same values that we do. Though we speak different languages and lead different lives, we are all human and there are beliefs and values that can be seen to hold true across the whole world.