WXXI Classical Blog

Postcards

After three days in China, members of the Rochester Oratorio Society talk about their strongest impressions.

"I can't get over seeing the children's faces and how beautiful they are and the thought of peace. I grew up thinking Communism was bad. Look at how happy these people are!" "I'm still processing." - Michelle

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A digression on the neighborhood

When the Rochester Oratorio Society landed in Beijing Sunday, singers were bused to the Ruicheng Hotel in an industrial-suburban about six miles west of the Forbidden City. Initially, I was deflated to be so far from the pretty stuff. I'd imagined daily jogs through the Imperial gardens. But now that we've had a chance to look around, I'm glad to be staying in a grittier part of town.

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Sightseeing in Beijing

Today, we were tourists. We passed through the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of 9,999 rooms. We ascended the steps of the Temple of Heaven. Kites fluttered overhead. Azure-winged magpies shrieked from cypress trees. Hazy sun shone all day. Some of us are pink and peeling. One singer sank into a wheelchair, exhausted.

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Beijing, first impressions

Members of the Rochester Oratorio Society landed in Beijing today. Dazed with jet-lag, we passed through a dazzling world of gleaming floors, polished steel, and walls of glass. Triangular skylights floated over us in a vaulted ceiling. Beijing's new airport opened two months ago, and the most astonishing thing about it is its sheer size.

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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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Congratulations to Bob Laird

He wrote the judges’ favorite entry in a caption contest.


“Hey, waddya say we march down the garden path together and audition?”

Other top choices included runners-up,

“Just think, once we're through with all of these Sousa practices and performances, we can relax like this for the rest of the summer. July 4th can't get here soon enough!”
- by Julie Levy

And Julia Figueras’ pick by Nicholas Gurewitch:

"(rest symbol)"

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Reunited

and it feels so good!

Hey, guess what? I found my copy of Alex Ross’ “The Rest is Noise” buried in a laundry basket, of all places. In such moments I think of Thoreau’s stint on Walden and wonder if I should jettison some stuff. But not Alex’s book. I’m very happy, and I apologize to my co-workers for suggesting one of them might have lifted it off my desk.

Now that I think about it, what a wildly optimistic notion. Not everyone is so crazy about 20th century classical music.

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Bad news for the RPO

First of all, thank you for reading my blog. Thanks, too, to the creative readers who submitted captions in my contest. I'll announce the winner early next week, after I poll a panel of non-experts.

Today, a bit of news about the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Eastman Chandelier lowering

The lowering of the Eastman Theater chandelier marks the first step in renovation project.

The chandelier is lowered.: ©Andy Olenick fotowerks.comThe chandelier is lowered.: ©Andy Olenick fotowerks.com

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