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Westmont College Orchestra to Tour, Perform in China

The students will share their music in Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai

The Westmont College Orchestra, consisting of 63 student musicians, will travel to China beginning Wednesday through May 18, performing in Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai.

The orchestra, under the direction of conductor Michael Shasberger, will perform concerts at the Beijing University of Technology, Sun Village, the Suzhou Art & Design Technology Institute, the Suzhou Organization on Disability, Fudan University and Shanghai University. There are 68 people in the tour group, plus a professional guide.

“The highlight of every tour is the opportunity to share the experience with the orchestra members,” said Shasberger, Adams professor of music and worship. “Seeing the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City and playing concerts at Chinese universities, sometimes with our Chinese peers, will be astounding. We’re also looking forward to overnight trains, shopping in Shanghai, performing in a senior citizen’s home and experiencing authentic Peking opera.”

The orchestra will perform a diverse selection of music, including works by Giuseppe Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Mozart and Felix Mendelssohn.

The orchestra previously toured overseas through Austria and Hungary in summer 2009. Student fundraising and donors who participate in the annual orchestra patron program support the tour. Students have performed at farmers markets, held car washes and sold calendars to raise funds for the trip.

“We’ve also been blessed by generous support from the Westmont Music Guild, which has helped with a silent auction and multiple bake sales, adopt-a-musician sponsors, business sponsors and many family members and friends,” Shasberger said. “It has all come together splendidly. We were able to meet the financial need of every single member of the orchestra so that everyone who was available for the trip could go.”

“I am most excited about the spirit of the group and their enthusiasm to share our music, wherever we go in the world. Anytime I get to travel and make music with 60 or so wonderful student musicians, it’s exciting.”

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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