You know how it feels when you get down to breakfast and all the watermelon has been eaten? And then two different people talk about the patience we all need by this point in tour; you know you’re in trouble now… It’s never good to ask for more patience—things happen. While we were standing outside there were some huge claps of thunder that sent us running inside to grab coats and umbrellas to head out for the Thousand Buddha Mountain—but with great optimism we drove for the 90 minutes it took us to reach our destination. Weather and traffic are a bad combination. We off-loaded, walked over close enough to see the beautiful large gate into the area, and waited while tickets were purchased. Then the rain intensified and we waited for the tickets to be refunded. We moved from lessons on patience to lessons in futility. But we made a valiant attempt!
Once back on the buses we headed directly for a nearby restaurant in a very posh shopping mall for a prearranged dumpling lunch. The dumplings were tasty, but they left many wanting just a little more…sweet. Ice cream and pastries seemed to fill their void, and they looked delicious.
The rain stopped as we left—of course! It was a quick drive back to our hotel, where we saw them packing up all of the wedding decorations that they had been putting out as we left this morning. They had some very impressive-looking fireworks; wonder if they could use them in the rain.
Then on to Shandong University, where we had One of Those Experiences. This is why we make all the effort to go on tour. To begin with they wanted to watch Singers rehearse (all students in their choir are music ed majors), so that worked well for Dr. Staheli’s need to rehearse! The concert hall only holds about 300, but it’s a gem and has a gorgeous Steinway.
Dr. Staheli had a clinic here with Professor Lee and his choir two years ago, and there is obviously a warm relationship between them. By the end of the night we all felt the same. Any frustrations of the day were forgotten the moment Singers walked on stage—the applause was thunderous (thunder was good this time) and the SRO audience had people sitting in the aisles and standing in the back.
Tonight’s audience was such a welcoming and enthusiastic audience! They loved every piece, and Singers sang every piece several levels above any performance so far. Absolutely incredible.
The Shandong University Choir performed very well, and it was great to hear them. They performed Palestrina, Schumann, some Chinese folk songs, then ended with a BYU favorite, “Let Me Fly”.
Then Singers returned to the stage, singing a couple of planned pieces followed by four encores. They would have heard the entire repertoire given that choice. Rhythmic clapping, shouting, standing, and huge applause kept the music coming. There were gorgeous big bouquets, and much appreciation all around.
Group photos, small group photos, and selfies took the next 15 minutes until we could get the choir across the street for dinner, part two. (Part one came before the concert.) We have been treated like royalty, and it’s been remarkable and humbling. If we ever doubted that Dr. Staheli has a following in China, that doubt has been dispelled. And if we ever wonder if we make a difference on tour, we learn every night that we do. What a great ending to a long day!