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COYO Postcards from China: Day 3

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is on tour in China, where they will perform concerts in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Ningbo.  WCLV has signed up three orchestra members as "field reporters" to send back pictures, video, audio, and text of their experiences. 

Day 3 update from Serena Shapard, Principal Second Violin

Written immediately after the first concert of the tour.

It has been another busy day here in Beijing, but it has certainly not been a day lacking in excitement, enjoyment, and accomplishment. Tomorrow morning, we'll leave by bus for Tianjin, and although we are looking forward to what the second city of our tour presents (particularly, as we playfully joke, the Friendship Hotel, whose name seems to suit the mood and goals of our group quite well), we are leaving Beijing full of fond memories of the past few days.

We began our day today with visits to Tianamen Square and the Forbidden City. There was lots to take in at these sites: uniformed guards who changed positions with formality and ceremony, large crowds of visitors speaking languages like French, Portuguese, and Spanish, and the ornate and old (dating back to as early as 1420) architecture of the buildings themselves.

Here, we also enjoyed another morning of bright sun and clear skies. And as our day progressed to a rehearsal and evening concert, our interpretation of the lovely weather as a good omen for our endeavors held true.

We finished the day (and our stay in Beijing) with a very well-received and energizing concert at the Forbidden City Concert Hall. Adjusting to a new performance venue is always a challenge for ensembles, but COYO handled the task with flexibility and focus. While jet lag occasionally encouraged eyelids to droop and energy levels to sag over dinner, the orchestra rallied to present the pieces on its program with spirit and thoughtful musicality later in the evening.

Our performance, including an encore of Ruo's ''Flower Drum Song from Feng Yang'' was met with cheering and extensive applause that eventually came together into synchronized, rhythmic clapping from our audience. Although our work as an ensemble tonight was enough to elevate spirits and ignite excitement for future concerts, our audience's response to the performance solidified our drive to connect with and offer gifts of music to the audiences we encounter later in our tour.

Goodnight from China, and we'll send more news very soon!