Happy New Year from the South Shore Orchestra in Shaoxing

By: South Shore Orchestra Last Updated: January 4, 2010

Tonight we are in Dinghai, a bustling jurisdiction in Zhousahn, the sole city of the Archipelago Islands. We are just south of the mouth of the Yangtze River. Our trip here this morning from Ningbo was by way of the newly opened connective Seagate Bridge which connects a series of islands in over 30 miles of passage. Opened on Christmas Day, our project manager Marco speculated we might possibly be the first Americans to cross this bridge.

We boarded a ferry to visit Mount Putuo—an impressive Buddha shrine which rises over the sea. The beautiful grounds and statuary offer contemplative beauty and opportunity for meditation and insight to the world. The scores of visitors demonstrate it is a place that is of special importance. We then reversed our direction, sailed back, then boarded our two busses to take us to our hotel in Dinghai to convene for lunch. The next meal would be late after the concert and a time to reflect about its delivery and sound.

So the lunch feast is the beginning to be the start of a busy preparation for the evening performance. The array and savory variety of Chinese cuisine is always anticipated and enjoyed. Time is set for assembly, roll call and getting to the venue for a specific rehearsal of the evening music lineup. Each concert is fine tuned to ensure the delivery of the best experience for their audience. Their commitment to music as a universal language makes this cultural bridge even more important and part of this mission.

We walked the short distance to the Zhousahn Grand Theater to be welcomed by a large banner announcing our concert. Each theater has been an experience. This one is beautifully appointed with a capacity of 800. Last night at the state of the art Nignbo Opera House, it was filled with an enthusiastic audience of 2000. The acoustics were as grand as the space but more than drafty and cold for the performers. The first evening in Yuhuan was filled with over 1000 participants who were eager to interact with all of the performers and visitors. It was a great introduction to our experience.

Each of our concerts is sponsored by the municipal government, which then determines how tickets will be distributed and/or sold. Ningbo was hosted by State Grid Corporation of China and Zhejiang Ningbo Electric Power Bureau who made it available to their employees and families. Yuhuan government and the Director of Cultural Affairs brought SSO to offer their smaller town (500,000 people) a cultural experience through music.

Next stop Shaoxing. Morning wake up—8:30! Quite a change from or previous. Two mornings. Departure 1030. Onto the net!