Train ride #2 today. We’re getting to be quite good at this, though we were momentarily disconcerted at finding no luggage area when we boarded our car. That required some quick readjusting, and redistributing the luggage throughout the car, but it did work. 1½ hours later we arrived in Xi’an. These high-speed trains are pretty nifty! And their train stations are enormous. Everything here is built on a larger scale.
Xi’an is pretty nifty also—there was a good rain last night that cleared out all of the pollution for today, at least. The clear blue sky and ability to take a deep breath were very welcome. Here is another “smaller” city of only 8 million—over 2 times the size of Utah’s population. Everywhere you look there are high-rises under construction and trees being planted. The buildings bring in more people, which causes more pollution; the trees are to counteract the pollution. I think I can tell which is winning so far.
We stopped for a very nice lunch on our way to the hotel, and arrived there mid-afternoon. We had time to check in and change, then drove through very heavy traffic to a workshop with the local Chinese Choral Organization. The head of that organization has been to BYU twice and was excited to have Dr. Staheli and his choir come. Two other conductors from far away (the Gobi Desert and a city in the province of Szechuan) flew in to be here for the concert. They worked with Dr. Staheli when he was here two years ago.
Dr. Staheli and the choir presented basic vocal techniques and talked a little about ways to make voices work together in a choir. Singers warmed up, and it was time to end the workshop and prepare for the concert.
The evening was opened by a community choir of retired music educators and other professional musicians conducted by Professor Wang Pei, the head of the choral organization. We enjoyed hearing their pieces. Our audience was that choir and other music educators, who were very appreciative of what they heard. As always, they were quite taken with the Chinese folk songs, and loved it when Catherine Winters (flute) and Ka’imi Ruberson (tenor solo) were sent out into the audience for their solos.
After the necessary group photo shoot, we boarded our buses and braved the traffic to get to our hotel.
Saturday nights here are hopping. Most stores were still open at 10 pm, and there were lots of handcarts and stuff being sold out of the back of cars. Quite a few people were wandering around; it really reminded me of New York City.
Since the choir had a late lunch, there was no time for dinner. Sheldon Poon, our wonderful liaison here, took everyone to a nearby KFC for an (almost) taste of home.