**Hit play to hear some of the music that students played in China!**
Ready to start a daily rehearsal at Shanghai Datong High School in China, Sergio De Iudicibus ’16 notices something wrong after striking a key on the piano. After lifting the piano’s lid to investigate, he discovers chopsticks, coins, scraps of metal and other debris scattered inside the instrument. De Iudicibus said that he and his fellow pianists could not suppress their laughter, despite being in the middle of an important rehearsal.
De Iudicibus’s discovery in the piano was one of several lighthearted moments on the Music Department’s week long tour of Shanghai during Spring Break. 70 students, hailing from Andover’s Chorus, Academy Orchestra, Fidelio Society and faculty members embarked on the trip, which was designed to allow Andover students to share their love of music with young Chinese musicians.
James Orent, Orchestra conductor said, “With the advent of airplanes, rockets, television, radio and the internet, the world has become a much smaller place – not physically, but just in terms of the immediacy of contact. For years and years and years, there have been global conflicts. How do we reach out to each other and find a common language, a common ground with the interests that we share together, community, security and so on? How do we learn about each other’s cultures? That [was] basically the motive behind the trip – to open those lines of communication – and it was very successful.”
The tour culminated in a performance at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall that included a total of 400 performers from both Andover and Datong High School. As the first high school group to perform in the new symphony hall building, Andover musicians performed to a crowd of 1,200 people, which included Head of School John Palfrey and Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun.
Tony Faller ’18, a member of Chorus, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Everything came together for the big concert at the Shanghai Symphony Hall. In conjunction with the Orchestra, [our performance of Carl Orff’s Number 24 of the Carmina Burana, Blanziflor et Helena] sounded especially nice. The acoustics added another second of reverb to it, and so everything kind of melded together to make one really big, beautiful chord.”
In preparation for their final performance at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Hall, Andover musicians rehearsed daily with students from Datong High School. Andover students were able to get out of their comfort zone in these rehearsals by learning and playing Chinese music on their Western instruments.
Charles Stacy ’16 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Just being in rehearsal with Datong students and sitting with them before, during and after the performance was proof enough that the students at our sister school and at Andover are no different. We were all laughing and talking together in the outside backstage hallway, taking pictures, exchanging contact information.”
While mornings on the trip were devoted to rehearsal, afternoons were reserved for cultural outings, including visits to the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Museum of Art, Yu Gardens, Tan Dun’s Water Heavens, Nanjing Pedestrian Road and a water town called Zhujiaojiao.
Aditi Kannan ’18, a violinist in Andover’s Orchestra, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “When we went sightseeing, I really enjoyed taking in the completely different culture. It was very interesting to eat different foods, bargain and notice the different lifestyle the Chinese people had.”