Good News from Beijing

One of the pieces we have been playing in each concert is a piece called Good News from Beijing to the country side villages. Well, good news from Beijing tonight is we had a good concert and good audience. Very responsive and had lots of energy throughout. And we needed energy. Our day did start at 5:00 and a bus trip to the airport. The hotel provided a boxed lunch with a sandwich, hard boiled egg, a meat and can’t remember what else.

We arrived at the airport and one of our horn players collapsed. He fell forward and cut his lip. He had to be transported to the hospital and I guess he is fine and will join us tomorrow. Two other members went with him and stayed in Kunming and they will fly in tomorrow morning as well. Our 5 member horn section was reduced to three members as one of the people staying with him was a horn player. We were able to find a competent student in Beijing who was happy to come and play with the ensemble. One of the cornet players also has been fighting a cold and today it got the best of him. He was unable to play the concert and was one of the players in the cornet trio playing Three Kings. Mark Ponzo was able to play his part and did a fine job on so little notice.

After we arrived in Beijing we went to Tianamen Square and after looking around and getting our picture taken it was off to lunch. We have a variety of food and also had Peking Duck which was very good. Then some of us went through the Forbidden city and some headed to the hall which was part of the forbidden city. It was a cold afternoon and walking around outside after a night of little sleep had us all a bit tired. Having had enough of being outside we headed to the hall and arrived at 4:30 or so. It gave us a chance to warm up and then have a short rehearsal.

The concert tonight was at 7:30 so was good to be done a bit earlier than other nights. For all the concerts there have been some announcements that prevented us from beginning to play until 10 minutes and the concert should have started. Tonight there were no announcements so wonder why. Because most places close by 9:00 we needed to find a place to eat and so we went to one of the few 24 hour places–McDonalds.

We arrived at the hotel, cold and tired. We were going to head to the great wall at 7:00 am but we changed that. Some of us will leave for the great wall at 9:00 and some will stay at the hotel. You just can’t do it all and when your body tells you to rest you need to rest.

Due to the amount of time available I may not be able to get many more videos or photos posted before I get back home but will do my best. Will capture and might end up posting when I get back.

About Mark Olson

I am a conductor and trumpet performer. I am Assistant Director of Bands at Harvard University. I also conduct the Middlesex Concert Band and play in the Metropolitan Wind Symphony as well as the New Sousa Band.
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