COYO Postcards from China: Day 4

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 3 update from Serena Shapard, Principal Second Violin

Written from The Friendship Hotel in Tianjin after our second concert

Even though we only arrived in Tianjin this afternoon, our visit to the second city of our tour has left us full of pride, excitement, and thankfulness for both each other and the opportunities our trip has presented to us.

As musicians develop their skills and enter the world of performance, they are often coached to understand that there is an element of unpredictability to any recital, concert, or gig. Expectations may not align with reality, but that doesn't have to hinder musicality or thoughtful performance. Although advice along these lines is typically given in a discussion about making mistakes, it also applies to understanding audiences' reactions to a performer or ensemble. Tonight in Tianjin, we saw the most pleasant manifestation of unpredictability as our performance was met with enough applause to play our encore twice and to leave a group of concertgoers hoping for pictures and autographs outside the concert hall.

For an orchestra as a whole, the unpredictability of concerts can be very engaging. For example, unpredictability can leave room for variety in musical interpretation and help ward off complacency in overall musicianship. Tonight, COYO took the unpredictability in stride and presented another concert full of energy, technical prowess, and teamwork. Of course, we also were faced with the task of adjusting to an unfamiliar hall- and a beautiful and acoustically pleasing one at that-so our successful performance was supported by the pride of having adapted rapidly to new surroundings.

Tonight, we are in a beautiful hotel here in Tianjin; the rooms have high ceilings, modern and clean decor, and nice views of the illuminated city. It's a one-night stay here for us, and we are on to Shanghai tomorrow by high-speed train. But a short stay doesn't have to mean short-lasting or insignificant memories. Instead, it seems likely that our time in Tianjin will be remembered for a smashingly successful concert and a strengthening camaraderie among our group. (For example, an impromptu vocal rendition of our encore on the bus after the concert was good evidence for our increasing comfort and ease with each other.)

All the best to you from COYO, and another post will follow shortly!

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