Group Visits Five Cities During Landmark Trip
For only the second time, Landon School organized a festival ensemble that visited China this month. The nine-person ensemble, seven of whom attend Landon, included band and orchestral instruments. They became the first high school band to play at the National Center for the Arts in Beijing, according to Earl Jackson, chair of Landon’s performing arts department.
“This was a great opportunity to present Landon’s music program to the Beijing band community,” Jackson said.
The group, who traveled from July 2-21, also visited Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Suzhou-Zhouzhuang and Shanghai. The group also had the chance to visit notable destinations throughout the country, including the Olympic Village, Tiananmen Square, pandas in Chengdu and Bundt in Shanghai.
The highlight of the trip, according to Jackson, was playing at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, one of the largest American embassies in the world.
“Playing ‘God Bless the U.S.A.’ at that concert gave us a chance to play a song about freedom in the hub of communism and gave the audience an opportunity to witness American music on American soil,” Jackson said.
The group also played with Beijing’s High School 166 and at the Beijing International Band Festival as the closing ensemble in conjunction with the Beijing Wind Orchestra. Jackson serves as president of the Beijing Wind Festival and also spent time conducting clinics and judging competitions during the trip.
Participating Landon students were Aaron Beguelin ‘14, Alex Christner ‘15, Michael Harris ‘12, Tumi Onaghise ‘14, Henry Smith ‘16, Grant Smith ‘14, and Culver van Vleck ‘14.
Joining Jackson as staff on the trip were Landon adjunct music faculty member Ronnie Shaw; Dr. Dennis Edelbrock from George Mason University and the U.S. Army Band; Les Miller, former band director of Connersville (Ind.) High School, the oldest continuous band program in the country; and Gilbert Pryor, a former adjunct music faculty member.