ABERDEEN, S.D. – The NSU Symphonic Band is preparing to leave May 8 for a
weeklong tour of China.
The band will visit Beijing, Shanghai and the historic city of Xian. Highlights of the trip will include excursions to Tiananmen Square, the Peking Opera, and the Great Wall. As part of a cultural exchange experience, the band will perform concerts at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade and Beijing Capital Normal University. Both universities are involved with the exchange programs at NSU.
The band is under the direction of Dr. Boyd Perkins, director of bands. Others from NSU traveling with the band are: James Seeber, professor of sociology and tuba player; Jessica Perkins, instructor of low brass; Doug Ohmer, professor of business; and Mike Bockorny of the NSU Foundation.
The music department has had a high rate of participation from Chinese students in the marching band, Symphonic Band, choir and orchestra the past few years. The band had a unique opportunity to take advantage of this connection when NSU alumnus Bin Liu, who lives in Beijing, offered to translate the printed program into Chinese. He will also serve as an interpreter while the band is in Beijing.
“It has been tremendous to hear from our Chinese alumni who have been in the NSU bands,” Boyd Perkins said. “Numerous alumni have been in contact with the band and look forward to meeting us at our performance sites. In the past five years, about 25 Chinese students have played in the band programs at NSU and numerous others have participated in the choirs and orchestra programs.”
Band members are eagerly looking forward to exploring China.
“What I'm looking forward to the most about the China trip is the new cultural experience,” said Chelsea Kerbaugh, a junior music education major who plays saxophone. “To get an opportunity to perform, tour and experience another culture like this is once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
To prepare for the performances in China, the band will rehearse for three days prior to departure. The rehearsals will culminate in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in Krikac Auditorium. The band’s music is mostly a blend of Americana music, marches, Broadway musicals, Dixieland, polkas and American pop music. Jessica Perkins will appear as a featured soloist, performing Herbert L. Clarke’s “Carnival of Venice.”
The concert is free and open to the public.