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Eastern perspective

From Mark Clague’s China trip blog

DAY THREE — We had a WONDERFUL day in Hangzhou, visitng Lingyin Temple (coincidentally on the Buddha’s Birthday and thus getting to witness a once yearly ceremony with hundreds of monks).

We retrieved our percussion and oversized instruments and had our first rehearsal in China (the band sounds great despite the four-day layoff!), and—best of all—getting to meet the faculty and students at Zhejiang University (where I gave a lecture on American music while our students learned about Chines culture, our students and faculty performed, and then our students got a chance to talk with Zhejiang students).

The Chinese students speak English very well and it was fantastic to see how quickly the students bridged their cultural differences and connected as people, sharing their love of music, sports, and food. The evening banquet hosted by Hanban (China’s cultural exchange agency) was wonderful and gave us another chance to get to know the University’s staff and students. Cultural diplomacy really does work and I feel like all of us have already grown as citizens of the world and as individuals.

I took over 500 photos and with a 6:30 wake-up call facing us in just a handful of hours; I’ll post a small selection of images here. I also got a bit of video of the Buddha’s Birthday Ceremony and will try to post that in the next couple of days. Know that we’re having a fantastic time and that all difficulties have been quickly overcome with patience and goodwill.


Mark Clague is an associate professor of music at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.