The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Choir tours China over break

Alicia Smith | Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir experienced the culture of China during a weeklong spring break visit involving sightseeing and performance opportunities.

Thirty-three members of the Choir participated in the trip along with sophomore trumpet player Bethany Ledyard and senior dancer Jingqiu Guan.

Senior Anna Bax, president of the Women’s Choir, said the group tours every other year.

“This year we are lucky enough to get to go to China,” she said.

Bax said the Choir performed four times during the tour, in Shanghai, Nanjing and Suzhou.

The Choir spent the rest of the trip sightseeing and visited Shanghai Normal University, Bax said.

“I [had] never been to Asia before and [was] excited to experience the different culture,” she said.

The Choir performed with the Meng Girls’ Choir at the Nanjing Arts Institute. The choirs hosted a joint concert and sang together.

“They have done a lot to prepare for our arrival,” Bax said. “Each of us in the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir has a pen pal from that choir.”

During the tour, the Choir performed a variety of pieces, including “Gordan Magnificat,” “The Belles of Saint Mary’s” and “Three Chinese Songs.” 

Bax said the Choir participated in several banquets with hosts from Shanghai and Nanjing. In addition, the Choir toured the Confucius Temple of Nanjing and went to see a Kun Opera at a local theatre in Nanjing. 

The Choir prepared for the tour by learning about China’s culture from Guan, a native of China.

“[Guan] has been coming to the last 10 minutes of our Choir rehearsals to tell us a bit about the Chinese culture and to teach us some basic Chinese expressions and phrases,” Bax said.

Additionally, Dixian Teng, the director of the Meng Girls’ Choir, visited Saint Mary’s College in the fall.

“She came for a week in November to attend our Fall Choral Concert and the Women’s Choir high school festival that we host every year,” she said. “She helped us work on our “Three Chinese Songs.””

The Women’s Choir launched a blog to chronicle the tour. Bax said every day of the trip, members of the Choir shared photos and stories about the trip.

As a celebration of the end of the tour, the Choir will perform a Homecoming Concert. The concert will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.