29 June 2008

Earthquake in Sichuan

Melissa Michaels at SOU gave me this very moving blog from Coco Wang I'd like to share with everyone.

Earthquake blog

27 June 2008

Jesse Molloy opens for Earth Wind and Fire

Former student and SOU alum Jesse Molloy and his band On the One opened for Earth Wind and Fire last night at Britt Festival. The whole concert was great. I got to catch up with Jesse a bit after the concert. He is playing well and made me proud.

Read the review here

06 June 2008

Return Home

After having pleasant weather in China I was surprised by the cold in Oregon. It even snowed at my home near Howard Prairie. Now that I'm home I have better internet access. My blogspot and many things google have a difficult firewall to get around in China. Ironically Brent can't view this blog in China. The first posts were done by emailing everything to Jody who then posted it for me. I skyped our Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra Senior Computer Security Analyst, Andrew Krug. He was able to get me through the firewall. I could then post from China but the amount of data was restricted. Mostly that affected video. Over the weekend I'll add the missing videos and more content so you may want to look at older posts. I especially like the video from the saxophone association banquet of the teachers describing the earthquake.

Here are some pictures from Brent taken the evening of the May 12th earthquake in Chengdu.

There first thing I did when I returned home was to take a walk in the woods and find some morels for dinner.Here is a bootleg video of me performing TAG at the SOAR concert.

04 June 2008

Central Conservatory

Today it was time to work. Thanks to John Bleuel I was able to connect with Li Manlong. Manlong is the saxophone professor at the Beijing Central Conservatory–one of nine conservatories of music in China. I taught four of Manlong’s students in a master class before performing TAG. The saxophone studio is much smaller than in Sichuan. Manlong has only nine students. After four hours of teaching we had a late lunch. Manlong gave me several gifts including his own invention, a saxophone resonance device, trade-named “dragon.” It is intriguing radar shaped piece of brass that fastens to the receiver area of the saxophone.

In the late afternoon we walked through many hutongs (alleyways) in Beijing. I found a few nice gifts for my friends back in Oregon. We found an area with many music stores. We checked out several until we were drawn to a couple of saxophonists playing outside of a store specializing in saxophone. Brent haggled for a Vandoren-copy ligature. On the walk back to the hotel we stopped an ate jaozai and drank Yanjing.

Tomorrow I fly back to Medford and Brent heads back to Chengdu. Due to the Sichuan Earthquake and cancellation of the Piano Institute, my trip to China was very different than I’d planned. Nevertheless, I enjoyed seeing friends and teaching in Chengdu. It was comforting to see them after the earthquake. The planned trip to Beijing was more successful than I’d hoped in spite of Brent and I being on our own. We had a spectacular time seeing Beijing, visiting and teaching at the Central Conservatory and meeting Li Manlong. It was fun to see Brent again catch up after nearly three years since he left SOU. I learned that aside from saxophone we share a passion for the Braves, exploring, eating strange street food and listening to Johnny Cash.

Rainy day in Beijing

It was pouring rain today so Brent and I spent a lot of time riding the subway to different areas of Beijing. After eating sushi for lunch, we traveled as far north as possible by train. We then took a taxi to reach the Olympics Sports venue in the northern most part of Beijing. The grounds were still under construction and off limits but we got a glimpse of the track and field “birds nest” and the aquatics center. For dinner we ate at Hakka along Qianhai lake.

02 June 2008

The Great Wall

In five years of travel in China this is the first time I’ve gone to the Great Wall. After first visiting the Ming Tombs we arrived at the Ba da ling part of the Great Wall. Wow. It is spectacular. I knew it would require some climbing but it was steeper than I expected.

We returned in the afternoon and traveled to the north sector of town to eat at a Xinjaing Uiger (Muslim) restaurant – another incredible meal. Afterwards we covered a lot of Beijing taking the subway and walking over ten miles.

01 June 2008

Snakes, Scorpions and Insects for Dinner

We arrived in Beijing, found a hotel and hit the streets. Brent and I like street food and Beijing has a lot of vendors. Our beverage was dry-ice chilled fruit juice. We dined on snake and silk worm but skipped the scorpions and grass hoppers—maybe tomorrow. See if you can name the kebobs below and email me your answers:

Saxophone Association Banquet

Last night was the final banquet with the Chengdu Saxophone Association. Pictured are Mr. Li, myself and Mr. Tang. This banquet meeting of the saxophone association has become a nearly annual event since my first visit in 2003 and are my closest friends in China. Many of these teachers accompanied us on the Guiyan-Chongqing saxophone tour last spring with Jody and I. We spent many hours traveling together and we became very close. They all expressed regret that it was only I this time and not Jody. Brent explained that 11 of these teachers hear juries each term. All of the saxophone students have their jury the same day. It was a grueling 11 hours and 80 saxophone juries!

At every banquet the first topic discussed was the May 12th earthquake. Li explained that they hadn’t seen each other since the event. Although I don’t speak Mandarin as you can see from the video it is obvious what they’re discussing.

Today is children’s day and Brent are I flying to Beijing.