Main Street Singers Tour China, Taiwan

For the past three weeks, the Main Street Singers have toured China and Taiwan. They have shared their talent and experience with these diverse cultures as well as fully immersed themselves in a shared passion for music. The tour began on Wednesday, April 8, and continued until Sunday, April 26, giving the group 18 days to showcase the singing skills they have accumulated in the past year.
“We use this opportunity to teach others about how music can come alive through hard work and determination,” senior Joshua Huang said.
The singers visited the cities of Taipei, Xiamen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing, Xi’an, Guilin and the territory of Hong Kong.
Main Street performed two concerts in Taipei, three concerts in Xiamen, one concert in Beijing, two concerts in Xi’an and one in Hong Kong.
In each city they visited, the group performed formal concerts, often accompanied by the cities’ famous philharmonic orchestras and choir groups.
Main Street performed at an international school in Taiwan, a music conservatory, and a cathedral in Hong Kong. Throughout the entire trip, only two nights did not include a performance.
The main purpose of the tour was to allow the Main Street Singers to experience new cultures and use their vocal skills.
Pieces performed ranged from Renaissance to Contemporary themed, specifically focusing on working with current choirs in China. Of the 35 pieces of music in the singers’ repertoire, songs including “Missa Brevis” and famous Chinese folk song “Jasmine Flower” were performed.
The group learned to perform in a foreign environment and adjust to different acoustics and atmospheres. The singers faced several opportunities to learn about another culture as well.
“One of the great rewards is to experience the cultural exchange, not only of us bringing our music and sharing it, but for them to bring their music to share with us,” Main Street Director Mark Shaull said. When they were not practicing though, the group spent time sight seeing and visiting notable places of interest for tourists.
“We [spent] any time we are not performing visiting all the famous sites in the cities we’re staying in,” senior Jessica Nicolet said.
This year, the Main Street Singers received invitations from the government and conservatories in China to visit and perform. Musicians and conductors expressed renewed interest in the singing group and invited them to take part in the different musical events happening in the country. China appealed to the group for many reasons, one of them being the positive post-Olympic state that the country is in.
“It’s a place in the world we haven’t visited in a long time, and China’s changed a lot,” Shaull said. “I thought it would be a great educational experience.”
The group attempts to visit a diverse collection of countries, refraining from consecutive trips in the same location.
The trip allowed the singers to expand vocal techniques while improving stamina.
“On tour our endurance is put to the test as we sight-see and perform in concerts everyday,” senior Ka Lau said.
The Main Street Singers held a farewell concert on Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at the Palo Alto Methodist Church. A reception and brunch were held as well.
“Tour has changed my life,” senior Jennifer Montalvo said. “It has shown me so many possibilities, possibilities I never thought I could have. It has opened my eyes and taught me to be a different person.”