This is our last day in Hanoi, and it was definitely one to remember! This morning we began sightseeing at 7:30AM. Our first destination was the Temple of Literature. This is a temple dedicated to Confucius and there we learned about several aspects of Confucianism. It was a quick visit since our activities yesterday were rescheduled for this morning, so immediately after walking through the temple we went over to train tracks that run straight through the middle of Hanoi. There was a small shopping strip nearby which we visited shortly after the train passed by. It was an interesting experience seeing a little closer how the people in Hanoi live their lives.
Once we walked through the shopping strip we were driven over to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, but the line was much longer than we were expecting. We decided to change our schedule so the choir wouldn’t tire waiting for an hour in the hot sun. Instead, we went over to another part of the city where there are many little shops. Here, we were able to walk in and out of these small shops and some of us even had some practice bartering. There are definitely some members of the choir who are much more timid than others when it comes to bartering!
After we finished walking around this shopping area, we were then bused over to a wonderful lunch provided by another local restaurant. The location was very beautiful, and the air conditioning was a huge blessing after having been in the hot sun for so long this morning. The staff prepared a delicious meal with several different plates, and the seafood wasn’t anything too unfamiliar which made it much more bearable for those who typically struggle with seafood.
After we finished lunch, we drove about 30 minutes to the National University of Art Education (NUAE) where BYU Singers had an opportunity to rehearse with the NUAE Choir before their afternoon performance. They rehearsed Ly Ngua, the Vietnamese piece that BYU Singers performed yesterday, however this time they were conducted by Mr. Hung, the conductor of the NUAE Choir and composer of this piece. After a quick combined rehearsal, BYU Singers then reviewed the staging for their performance.
The audience for this performance consisted of many students and faculty of NUAE. They were a very enthusiastic crowd and responded very well to the performance. As they arrived prior to the performance and the choir began to rehearse under the stage lights, the room quickly began to warm up even with the air conditioner functioning. However, with the love of the audience and the choir’s passion for choral music, they delivered a masterful performance and were very happy to connect well with the crowd at NUAE. It’s consistently an amazing experience to feel that deep connection with so many people when our language acts as a complete barrier to our communication with them. Music truly does speak to each individual personally.
Once the performance ended, we were then taken back to our hotel to have the night to rest. Some chose to stay in the hotel for dinner, others went to a nearby KFC, and others were more adventurous in experiencing new Vietnamese restaurants. Overall, we are very happy with all that we accomplished today despite adverse conditions of heat.