There has been a great amount of publicity announcing the cultural exchange of the universal language of music with the Chinese government and Valparaiso’s South Shore Orchestra. Nine digital bill boards in this huge metropolis, boast Maestro Troy Webdell’s image conducting the SSO. Promotional literature that was circulated to the seven cities hosting the group also featured solo cellist Josh DeVries, and vocal soloists Sarah McIntyre and Sean Kroll. Other evidence yesterday were the photographers, videographers, and journalists greeting our arrival at the hotel and the subsequent entourage that followed the rest of the day at scheduled visits and dinner to be featured on the evening news.
First stop was a visit to the headquarters of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games headquarters. Created by the International Olympic Committee, Nanjing will be the second YOG that focuses on the health and well being of youth aged 15-18. Like the Olympics, there will be 222 events in which youth from around the world will participate focusing more on the friendship and less on the competitive nature of the games. The Organizing Committee also strives to help expand the influence of youth especially from Nanjing, in being environmentally responsible and globally engaged in sustainable efforts to build a better future for all. It will open August 16 and run through August 28th.
SSO posed with YOG which is the animated mascot whose body and color is inspired by a local precious luminous stone. SSO President Pete Brannen, Maestro Webdell, and soloists Josh DeVries and Sarah McIntyre were presented with the official mascot from the organization.. Nanjing is often referred to as the Heavenly Kingdom. Its history is filled with both ancient wealth of knowledge but devastating tragedy in wartime massacre.
Second stop is the Museum of the Nanjing Massacre. An emotionally moving sculptural landscape housing the tragic historic wartime account of the Japanese invasion of Nanking. The museum is a tribute to the 300,000 victims with sculpture, artwork, artifacts and eyewitness accounts recording the tragedy to hopefully prevent the repeat of such an event.
Dinner was presented at a lovely restaurant on the edge of City Center ending the evening with a stroll through the active commercial marketplace offering some shopping ops.
Tonight's concert will feature an animated video created to compliment each piece of music presented, heightening the the audio and visual experience of the event.
On its fourth China New Year’s adventure, this trip has had a lot of special twists to its itinerary and venues played, largely due to the friendships made and relationships fostered by the Confucius Institute of Valparaiso University. One more concert will be played in Beijing on Monday January 6.