May 19, 2015
During their third week on tour the BYU Singers visited Xi'an, Hangzhou, Jinhua, Shanghai and Wuxi, China and enjoyed collaborations with several local choirs, participation in a major music festival, and also experienced some amazing educational opportunities. <h6>The performance highlight of the week was representing the USA in the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, where 12 international and 11 Chinese choirs will be participating in the coming 3 weeks.</h6> The performance highlight of the week was representing the USA in the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, where 12 international and 11 Chinese choirs will be participating in the coming 3 weeks. BYU performed in the Festival's opening concert to over 1,200 people, along with 11 other choirs that night. The Singers shared the concert stage in Hangzhou with the Zhejiang Conservatory Concert Choir, in Shanghai with the Songjian Teacher's Choir, and in Wuxi with the Wuxi Shanhe Chorus - in each case the concerts were preceded with a stimulating choral workshop guided by Director Ronald Staheli. The highlight educational experience had to be the visit to the Teracotta Soldiers Museum near Xi'an as well as the Chinese calligraphy lesson and Tang Dynasty dinner show presentation that night. In Shanghai the choir visited the Yuyuan Gardens - an amazing collection of stone, water pools, Chinese traditional buildings, and architecture which was in sharp contrast to the modern and creative high rise buildings in the Shanghai skyline. The pace of Chinese traffic, size of crowds in the areas visited, and infrastructure literally growing on every side has helped the tour members appreciate and admire the people of China today.READ MORE
Professor Yan Bao Lin of the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music celebrates with BYU Director Ronald Staheli following a successful joint concert in Hangzhou, China involving their respective choirs.
The Wuxi Shanhe Chorus, a community choir, worked with Ronald Staheli 3 years ago when he visited their city. On May 16 they combined with the BYU Singers in a joint concert in the spacious Wuxi Grand Theatre Concert Hall. Here Dr. Staheli directs a special number prepared that day for the choirs to sing together.
In Shanghai’s Songjian district, the BYU Singers concert was very well received just 3 hours after a choral workshop was held with music teachers from the local school district.
The Wind Symphony continued their three week tour to Asia by spending a week in beautiful South Korea. They once again immersed themselves into the local culture by spending time their first day in a Korean spa, observing traditional music, dance and horse acrobatics at the Korean Folk Village, and enjoying the flavors of Korean barbeque, called bulgogi. The band performed to large audiences in four major cities throughout the country. They started their performance schedule by being the first BYU group to visit the city of Gwangju, where the local audience was awed by their excellence and spirit. The students were impressed with the hospitality and welcoming attitude of the people of the city. The group traveled next to the southern coastal city of Busan. There they shared the stage for a second time with the Busan Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Jinyoun Baek, who hosted the group in 2009. The students of the Wind Symphony enjoyed blending their talents with these professional musicians. They also appreciated the light-hearted atmosphere created by their emcee Robert Holley, a local radio and TV personality. While in Busan they had a chance to visit the Haedong Yonggung Temple, situated on an ocean cliff, as well as refresh themselves on the sandy shores and in the chilly waters at Haeundae Beach. <h6>Their time in Korea culminated with a concert in Seoul commemorating the 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea.</h6> They traveled north again to join the US Eighth Army Band for a concert near Seoul in a city called Bucheon. The Wind Symphony appreciated the opportunity to help promote the American spirit and the cause of freedom through their music. Their time in Korea culminated with a concert in Seoul commemorating the 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea. For this celebration they were joined by the Camarata Choir, under the direction of Mr. Ryan Goessl. There was standing room only for this moving and inspirational performance. Once again, it was difficult for the Wind Symphony to leave their new friends in South Korea. They created relationships that will continue long past this short tour and memories that will live on forever. The group finishes their tour with a week in Japan.READ MORE
Band members William and Alex pose with new friends after the concert in Gwangju
The Wind Symphony and Busan Wind Orchestra rise for applause
Piccolos from Wind Symphony and the Eighth Army Band join together to perform Stars and Stripes Forever while emcee Robert Holley looks on
A grand conclusion at the 60th Anniversary Celebration
The third week of Living Legends tour brought new challenges, success, and adventure as Living Legends traveled the beautiful inside passage of Alaska. Following church in a beautiful rustic log cabin chapel in Ketchikan, the group enjoyed Sunday dinner with ward members and provided a fireside that evening before returning to a fishing lodge which was to be their home for their four day stay in this resort town. Monday brought a unique experience for the group to travel by ferry to Metlakatla, a small native village on a nearby, Annette Island, for a performance for the K-12 school children. When word spread, the entire community was invited and the gym was filled to capacity with both young and old Native Alaskans from the Tsimshian Tribe. As the entire village watched in awe as colorful, energetic Living Legends members (with heart pounding rhythms and exquisite collaborate costumes) brought to life a cultural, moving presentation of their rich heritage never before seen on this tiny island. Opportunity for two of the Living Legends Native Americans to speak to the youth about education and goals and dreams proved to be a powerful moment as their students responded with respect and great interest. A local youth drum group honored the Living Legends with songs as they left the school and met them again on the dock for a final farewell as the ferry pulled away. As the group prepared for their Tuesday night performance in Ketchikan, they received startling news that due to mechanical problems with several ferries in the system, schedules had to be changed and the ferry to Juneau, scheduled to depart at midnight following the performance had been moved to an earlier departure. Not wanting to disappoint the audience in Ketchikan by canceling the performance, prayers were offered, plans were made, and miracles happened. Somehow the flight from Ketchikan to Juneau the next day had 50 seats available. Living Legends quickly pulled 75 costumes and prop cases off the truck and sent the truck on the ferry with all of their technical equipment. It was a tender mercy that the theatre in Ketchikan had enough equipment to do the show without the technical equipment on the truck. <h6>The enthusiastic response of the sold-out performance that night made it evident that all of the group’s efforts were well worthwhile.</h6> The enthusiastic response of the sold-out performance that night made it evident that all of the group’s efforts were well worthwhile. Just when it looked like everything was in order to meet up with the truck again in time for their performance in Juneau, the group received word that the ferry had broken down at sea and there was no guarantee it would arrive in Juneau with the truck in time for the show. Again prayers were offered with great faith and the ferry arrived with just hours to spare before the show. Following a beautiful show in Juneau and a short night with host families, the group met at 5 AM to begin a 5 hour ferry ride and a long bus ride through British Columbia and the Yukon, crossed the border back into Alaska and overnighted in Tok. Along the way whales, seals, porpoises, moose, elk, and bears were sighted. The week ended with another sold out performance in Fairbanks and a moving fireside that filled the stake center. The Living Legends performance which shares a powerful message as well as magnificent cultural dances and costumes has been felt by the performers and audience a like throughout Canada and Alaska. Even with ferry schedule changes due to mechanical problems, the group has made it to every performance, assembly, outreach, and fireside, allowing the message and spirit to reach thousands of people, including government officials and many Native Canadians and Alaskans. On to Anchorage for the final leg of our journey.READ MORE
Performer Shelby Tulley gets the chance to meet two Native Alaskans after the Juneau concert
Hoop dancer Shanoah Ulibarri dazzles the Metlakatla audience
Ferries are the only option for trucks along the Alaska inside passage. The BYU Living Legends truck boards one of four ferry trips along the tour route