Two wonderful evenings filled with music. These photographs are from the Tuesday evening. Thank you to everyone for coming along to watch and listen to the young and not so young people of Preston Lodge.
This is an amazing thing to watch. The Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band at the 19th Nanning International Folk Song Festival.
You should watch the first few minutes to get a sense of the magnitude of this event, a stadium audience of around 50000 and a massive TV audience – Scotmid are getting their monies worth from the sponsorship message on the bass drum!!
The show is around 2½ hours long but the section featuring our Pipe Band starts at around 01:44:00 with the band making their appearance around 01:47:30
Monday was to be a busy day rehearsing for the opening gala concert but we had some free time in the morning so visited the Quangxi Arts Institute which would be the equivalent of the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow.
There were many music shops in the area and we visited the biggest one. The staff were incredibly helpful and demonstrated and allowed us to try a wide variety of traditional Chinese instruments. Lee bought a Hulusi flute which has similarities to the bagpipes in that it is a reeded instrument with a chanter and two drones. It is also in the same key as the bagpipes so perhaps we will be able to combine the two instruments in the future.
Lunch was a challenging affair with a variety of pretty unusual delicacies. Ducks feet were the order of the day and though a few of us tried to give it a go, in the end none of us had the stomach for it.
Our interpreter, Kimi, spent some time with us teaching us how to say our “Chinese” names with sometimes hilarious outcomes. In the end she awarded us all 90 – 100%.
The rest of the day was spent rehearsing for the show. The press were out in force and we gave interviews for various television stations throughout Asia. We were also in serious demand for photos and I’m sure by now the entire cast has had a selfie taken with at least one of us.
The day finished quite late and we did not get back to our hotel until 12.30am.
It’s showtime tomorrow so everyone will hopefully get a good nights sleep.
Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest for us but the musical director of the opening concert decided to call another rehearsal in the evening. With the concert being such a large scale production and viewed live by millions on television they were leaving nothing to chance.
We still had most of the day free so our guides took us to a traditional Chinese spice market. We took the metro, which has been a new addition since our first visit to Nanning in 2013, which was very busy but quite comfortable with air conditioning. The area where the market was located was in a much less developed area of the city which gave us a good feel for what ‘old’ Nanning would have been like. The market was very busy and the sounds and smells were an assault on the senses.
We sampled a variety of Chinese herbs, dried fruits and roots, and tea, and bought some things to take home. We then visited a traditional clothes market which was a multi storey building with small stalls inside. Each floor was dedicated to a particular item. One entire floor of shops selling suitcases and bags, another completely dedicated to underwear, another for men’s clothes and another for lady’s clothes. There was even a street with 4 or 5 shops beside each other selling umbrellas. This gave us a good opportunity to test our haggling skills as if you weren’t getting an item for the price you wanted you simply moved to the next shop and continued until you got it for the price you wanted. Competition for our custom was fierce amongst the traders and we all came away with some serious bargains, with the possible exception of the hats that Josh and Blair bought.
After dinner we were taken to the stadium for more rehearsals. The rehearsal was a very long drawn out affair but it gave us a good opportunity to see some of the other acts rehearsing, and also mix and have fun with many of the other artists backstage.
Everyone is really enjoying themselves and coping admirably with the intense heat and humidity.