Getting ready to go: Multicultural competency

Posted on January 15th, 2008 by

Two hours of practice in the morning. Two hours of class on Chinese history, culture, music, art. Two hours of practice in the afternoon. Plus orchestra section practices, evening class events such as viewing the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and, of course, homework. This is how members of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra have been spending their days in preparation for their upcoming trip to China. And they have been getting a healthy dose of what to expect from Gustavus’s Office of International Education. Here’s an excerpt from Director of International Education Pat Quade’s remarks to the GSO on January 14 regarding the journey toward multicultural competency.

The GSO will leave January 18 for two weeks of touring and performing in China. The current itinerary (which is subject to change):

January 20 — Arrive Beijing, the capital of China, home to 11 million people, and the host city for the 2008 summer Olympic games. Activities start right away with a visit to the Temple of Heaven.

January 21–23 — Tour Beijing and the surrounding region, including Tian An Men Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, Beijing Panda Zoo, and others. The GSO will perform an evening concert at the Central Conservatory of Music on January 21.

January 24–25 — Transfer to Tianjin (120 km), the largest seaport of North China and host to the Olympic soccer matches (the new stadium, Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, is an architectural marvel). The GSO will perform a joint concert with the Art Troupe of Tianjin Cathay Future Children’s Art Center. Transfer to Qinhuangdao (220 km) on the 25th.

January 26–27 — Qinhuangdao is a favorite summer resort of the Chinese elite. It is a port city situated between forest and the Bohai Sea. The GSO will visit Shanhai Pass, where the Great Wall marches down into the sea. The GSO will play a joint evening concert at the New Qinhuangdao Concert Hall, and enjoy a dinner hosted by officials of the Qinhuangdao Cultural Administration. Transfer to Tangshan on the 27th.

January 27–28 — Tangshan sits on the Bohai seacoast and is the “capital of porcelain” in the region. The city is a major center of heavy industry and a tourist attraction. Tangshan was flattened by an 8.2-magnitude earthquake in 1976 (which killed more than a quarter-million people). The GSO will play an evening concert at the Tangshan Town Hall. Transfer back to Beijing and catch a flight to Guilin on the 28th.

January 28–29 — Guilin is in the Guangxi region, and is surrounded by incredible, cave-riddled chalk mountains and clear rivers. Today the GSO will cruise down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, with lunch on the boat, and end the day with a street performance in Yangshuo. Overnight in Yangshuo.

January 30 — Back to Guilin to visit Mt. Yaou, the highest mountain in China. Afternoon transfer from Guilin to Shanghai.

January 31 — A little free time in Shanghai, then fly back home.

Traveling with the GSO will be Warren Friesen, director of the symphony; Brian Buckstead, assistant professor and violin soloist; Lisa Westphal, director of music tours at Gustavus; and Sharon Stevenson, director of design services and your faithful blogger. Check back often during the tour—both here and the Gustavus Fine Arts page—as we hope to share our daily adventures. And don’t forget, the orchestra will perform a home concert at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, February 17 in Christ Chapel. This concert is free and open to the public.



  1. Karen Marcotte says:

    Can you remind me how to get daily updates as a parent of an orchestra member? I thought I marked the page as one of my favorite places but can’t seem to locate it now. Of course I’ll follow along with the blog as well. Thanks so much.

  2. Penny Thorkildson says:

    Thanks for the promise of blogging from China! BYLY, Stevie-Pie!

  3. David Fienen says:

    Here’s wishing you all a great trip, stunning concerts, and an enriching adventure.
    –David Fienen

  4. Skip and Lynn Saeger says:

    To Christa and all the Orchestra.
    Have a wonderful trip. We’re so excited, I can’t imagine how you feel. I’m trying out the blog comment section to see if it works for parents to communicate to all of you. Hope the flight is great. Have fun.
    Skip and Lynn Saeger

  5. Laurie Peterson says:

    Thank you so much for this blog site. It will be a pleasure to follow our “kids” on their incredible journey. What an opportunity!
    Our 2 younger daughters have a map of China to be looking at while their oldest sister is on this tour.