The last train to Shanghai—someone really ought to use that as a title of a book. We boarded the train with alacrity, and also with all of our luggage, which is no small accomplishment. Two hours later we were in Shanghai, ready to begin the last leg of our tour. We were met by our new local guide, and were soon checked into the Vienna International Hotel, which doesn’t have a thing to do with Vienna that any of us can see. Not a wiener schnitzel in sight. But nice rooms, and a two-night stay!
We all went in different directions to find lunch, then walked two minutes to the Songjian Youth Center Dream Theatre for a workshop with a choir comprised of music teachers. They were very responsive to the suggestions Dr. Staheli made; the vast majority of the conductors and choirs we’ve met on this tour have been eager to learn.
We had a nice buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant, changed into concert dress, and then walked back the 2 minutes to the concert hall. It cannot get any more convenient than this! Tonight’s concert was an unexpected gift; our itinerary had conflated the workshop and the concert, so we thought the evening was a workshop-type performance with lecture and demonstration. With the final countdown running, we were thrilled to have one more performance that we hadn’t planned on.
The music educators’ choir sang first, and gave a fine performance. The choirs then exchanged positions, and Singers sang the rest of the concert. The audience was the choir, some of their students, and their families; it was a full house. They were wildly enthusiastic, and demanded three encores that Singers were happy to give.
It always tickles me to watch and listen to the audience reaction as they clue into the Chinese folk songs that the choir performs. It starts with disbelief that the choir is singing a familiar song, then great pleasure as they realize it is being sung (well) in Chinese. But it was obvious that the audience enjoyed the entire performance—especially “Ubuntu” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. We had our usual photo session after the performance. The non-choir audience cleared the hall in record time. I’ve been amazed this entire tour at how quickly the audiences exit; once the applause is done, so are they.
Tonight we are back in our rooms early due to the close location of the concert. From what I’ve heard, lots of us are doing a final hand laundry session to eke out enough clean clothes to get us home. No one wants to wash one more sock than is necessary!