COYO Postcards from China: Day 7

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is on tour in China, where they will perform concerts in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Ningbo.  WCLV has signed up three orchestra members as "field reporters" to send back pictures, video, audio, and text of their experiences. 

Day 7 update from Serena Shapard, Principal Second Violin

Written after our final tour concert in Ningbo

Tonight was a night of beginnings and endings. Our performance, the fourth and final of our tour and our first in Ningbo, was the last given by COYO as it is now, the last for the over twenty seniors on the trip, and the first given to that audience, the first glimpse into the world of COYO for about 1,000 Ningbo residents.

What remained constant amidst these beginnings and endings was the repertoire on our program, repertoire that existed long before COYO set to work on it and repertoire that will exist long after COYO closed the pages of the music. It makes sense, then, that the emotions and thoughtfulness that surrounded the culmination of our tour were channelled into this repertoire, the part of the performance experience that wasn't at risk of disappearing at its conclusion.

For us, channeling our emotions like this is also a way to preserve memories of our time together over the past eight days; hearing a recording of the Barber drifting from a radio somewhere or attending a performance of Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony will be reminders of the preparation, teamwork, and emotion that went in to COYO's own performances of the spectacular works.

Tonight, we set out to show the audience all of our musicality, to hold nothing back, and to work together as an ensemble through a combination of personal responsibility and sharing of leadership. And this we accomplished. The Shostakovich was energetic yet never out of control. The Kilar was filled with communication between the string sections and close attention to detail. The Barber was thoughtful and told the story of Medea through colors of sound. The Tchaikovsky was flexible and filled with raw emotion. And together, we gave a concert that showed off the best of COYO, both the technical and musical accomplishments of the musicians and also the strong bond between the members of the orchestra.

Saying goodbye, to our tour, to a season of COYO, and to departing musicians, is never easy, but saying goodbye with a powerful performance cushions the blow and adds another positive memory of our time together to the plethora that already exist.

Tomorrow, we'll enjoy a final day of sightseeing in Shanghai before we gather for a farewell dinner together at our hotel. Although we will be back on the plane soon heading towards home, the friendships and musical growth that we've experienced here in China will not be left across the Pacific Ocean. Instead, they'll be memories without an expiration date that we will proudly hold on to for years to come. 

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