Musicians perform on Great Wall of China

Posted on June 20, 2017

Music students enjoyed the experience of a lifetime when they embarked on the School’s second Music Tour to China in the April 2017 school holidays. 

The tour involved a total of 78 people – 37 students (from Year 8 – Year 12), 4 Arden staff and 37 Shadow Tour members (parents and siblings).  The students were involved in exchange concerts with similar aged students as well as having many amazing opportunities such as performing on the Great Wall and also in the tombs of the Terracotta Warriors!  They were very busy as they performed in five concerts in 11 days. 

Discussing the reason for organising such a tour, Arden’s Coordinator of Co-Curricular Music and China Tour Coordinator, Mrs Philippa Wood explained: “The benefits of touring are many.  It is a big goal over a long period of time that motivates and sustains the ensemble to keep lifting and pursuing excellence in musical performance.  There is the long lead up where the students and ensembles are honing their performances skills, with sustained detailed practice in both an individual and ensemble setting.  We are representing our country after all!  As we get closer to the tour, excitement is starting to build.  We are facing the reward of all the hard work – touring China, playing on the Great Wall or in the tombs of the Terracotta Warriors… it doesn’t get better than that!” 

The benefits are numerous both before and after the tour. “Students who have honed their skills to a high level as a result of having a significant goal to strive for, parents and school community who are united, having been on the Shadow Tour themselves or just witnessing the experience supporting their touring student.  The overall standard of the ensemble is significantly better; the students have made many more friends across the different years and really feel part of something special as a result of a shared life changing experience.   In 2017, we are still feeling the benefits of our first international Music Tour to China in 2014,” said Mrs Wood.

The tour was held from 8th – 18th April, with Arden’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Secondary Vocal Ensemble visiting Beijing (four days), Xi’an (three days) and Guilin (three days).  One of the amazing experiences planned was a public outdoor concert where the group presented a 45 minute concert for the thousands of people at the Ju Jong Pass on the Great Wall of China.  Other musical experiences the students enjoyed included:

  • Joint indoor concert with Bieye Tian Middle School
  • Exchange concert in Xi’an with Railway No.1 High School
  • Exchange concert with the Martial Arts school in Xi‘an
  • Attending an authentic Chinese orchestra concert showcasing traditional instruments
  • Enjoying the local music and dance of locals in the Temple of Heaven, Beijing
  • Attending the Peking Acrobatics show
  • Exchange concert with a Chinese Instrument Orchestra in Guilin followed by a masterclass on Chinese instruments

In addition, they enjoyed seeing the many wonders, scenery and cultural experiences of China including Beijing (Beijing Zoo is one of the many attractions there), Xi’an (where they saw the old-world wonders including the famous Terracotta Warriors as well as modern marvels and magical scenery of southern China), rickshaw trips, taking part in an interactive martial arts/Kung Fu session, dining with locals in their own home and, of course, the Great Wall of China.

Arden’s Head of Music, Ms Elizabeth Moore, commented: “What an extraordinary personal and musical opportunity for our students to experience the wonders of another country, spend time with friends and play in a top quality musical ensemble.  This will be an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.”