Beijing

China diary

Restless sleep. Vivid dreams. Sometimes my stomach hurts. Other times, I get a floaty feeling like I'm seeing streets and faces through a fisheye lens.

On Saturday, I'm flying to Beijing to represent the U.S. as a member of the Rochester Oratorio Society in a Pre-Olympic Cultural Festival. I haven't left yet, but I'm already learning a lot about myself. For one thing, I'm learning that despite my hunger for adventure, ya know, I'm just a girl from a small town in Western New York.

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worse still was the prospect of an honorable mention

On Monday night, conductor Eric Townell announced that the Rochester Oratorio Society (ROS) had been invited to enter a singing contest in Beijing, a kind of Chinese Idol with four judges and prizes and everything. After hearing more about it, he decided we would not compete, since three of the judges are Chinese and the other is Polish. It seemed likely, Eric said, that politics might influence the outcome. Needless pressure.

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China trip II

We got our visas. But that wasn't all.

In less than a month, about eighty singers (including myself) will land in Beijing to sing in a Pre-Olympic Cultural Festival. On Monday night, members of the Rochester Oratorio Society finally received their passports with Chinese visas pasted in, marked in each booklet by a paper clip. Besides the visas, our conductor, Eric Townell, passed out three new pieces of music. Less than four weeks before the trip! We leave July 12th.

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Kingdoms

While Mike Huckabee’s emergence as a Republican front runner in the 2008 Presidential race is obviously good news for his supporters, it also pleases some music and arts advocates. Writer Alex Ross has already noted the former Arkansas governor’s professed love for music and his legislation to bolster it in public schools. (Remember Bill Clinton and his saxophone?) While in office, Huckabee signed a law requiring every child in grades one through six to receive at least forty minutes a week of instruction in music and other arts. "In the true spirit of No Child Left Behind," Huckabee explained, "leaving the arts out is beyond neglect and is virtual abuse of a child."

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