Friday was our biggest performance day. Our first concert was at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
In between our two performances we visited the Opera House, walked through Tiananmen Square and then made our way to the Forbidden City Concert Hall for the second concert of the day. Our encores were Yimeng Mountain Song and Youth Dance. We had the incredible privilege to perform for the composer himself, and from the audience he gave us a huge thumbs up.
A common joke among people is that music people are not that physical. We are here to tell you that is not true! We had some incredibly strong choir members, who braved the intensity of The Great Wall and climbed 700 steps to reach the top. From there we viewed the beautiful changing leaves and saw an incredible view of the town below us. The “walk” along the Great Wall is more like a hike; it’s a series of stairs that you never quite adjust to. On our walk along the wall, you had to crawl through a window to get through the very first watchtower!
To leave The Great Wall we had many different options. You could choose a ski lift, a slide, or a cable car for our descent. Some of our choir members chose to take the cable car and on their wait in line they struck up a conversation with a nice couple. After exchanging stories and finding out that we were in Beijing touring they asked to sing for them. We sang Shenandoah and gave a “mini” concert for everyone who was in line waiting. A few of our choir members took the slide down and they said it was an experience of a lifetime!
Our adventurous day ended with a very fancy dinner with the Kaiwen Leadership at the Quanjude restaurant where the choir had Peking Duck and many other exotic foods. Here one of our choir members, Yiran Zhao, taught the rest of us how to eat this delicacy.
Our last day was spent exploring Beijing and the immediate area we resided in.
After a very long day of shopping we spent our last night performing at the closing ceremony where we sang selections from our concerts.
Throughout this trip we were reminded about the unity that music can bring to people. The highlight of our day was after the closing ceremony was finished the South African Choir, Malaysian Choir and Westminster Choir all joined together in a spur of the moment and sang Shosholoza together. The South African Choir brought out their drums and created an environment that only music could.
— Felicia — John