Thursday, 16 August 2012

An evening out

"Where are you going?"  "Who are you going with?" "What time will you be back?"
If those words bring back memories of younger days of your parents queries as you left "their" house, you have gone back too far.
Believe it or not, those were the words that my daughter accosted me with as I was about to leave for an evening about the tables being turned!!
Oh well, it's nice that she still cares about her mum's whereabouts, although I would have told her anyway.
So where was I off to?  The Frank Collymore Hall to see The Good-Will Military Band of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
They were performing solo, as well as with our local Royal Barbados Police Force Band, The Barbados Defense Force Band, and The Barbados Cadet Corps Band.  I was looking forward to a musical extravanganza of combined stylings.
I enjoy the sunset concerts at the Hall. It's always a nice evening out and I get the opportunity to see lots of folks that I won't normally see, and meet new folks too.The concert started a little later than the 7pm scheduled time, but after the opening remarks by the Ambassador to Barbados for the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Dr. Xu Hong, the concert was on the way.
When  the Chinese Military Band walked on to the stage and took their places, I knew I was in for an unforgettable treat.

Smartly attired in green uniforms with white shirts and green ties, with clean shiny shoes, they exuded professionalism all around.  Clarinets, Saxophones, flutes, horns, trombones, oboes, xylophone all came together in a well timed and precise performance.

Commencing with the national anthems of both China and Barbados, the evening's programme  continued with numbers like Hey Jude, In the Mood, Mambo No.5, Tequila, as well as Beat It and Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, among many others. The star of the band was a young man who thrilled the crowd with his Michael Jackson dance routines, and received hearty rounds of applause.

What's with these conductors?  They all seem to be comedians.  Mr. Conductor spoke no English, therefore had an interpreter, who he teased as he translated.  He had a flair that engaged the audience, and we loved him.  When it came time for the combined bands to perform, they played as one. It was very interesting to see the Chinese Band playing our local calypsos and Bajan melodies without a problem. Mr. Conductor was even dancing and swaying to our local music as he conducted.
A good time was had by all (on and off stage), as I saw many heads bopping and feet tapping all around.
The rousing standing ovation at the end of the performance was testimony of the audience appreciation, and it was well deserved.
What a lovely evening of wonderful music, I could not have asked for more.

Now some background information from the programme:
"The Military Band of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China was established in January 1948.  As the principal band, it participated in the founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China in 1949, playing the National Anthem for the first time. The PLA band now has 360 members  divided into three symphonic bands.
Serving as the national ceremonial band, it has performed more than 7,000 times over the past 60 years for occasions such as state visits, National Day celebrations, the handover ceremonies for Hong Kong and Macao, the Beijing Olympic Games, the Shanghai Expo, the Guangzhou Asian Games, etc.  It has always been the nation's leader in wind music development.
The PLA Band is hailed as China's Leading Team in Wind Music by media both at home and abroad."

The evening's event was sponsored by the Chinese Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports & Youth. After 35 years of bilateral diplomatic relations between China and Barbados, last evening's  goodwill musical exchange between the military bands will go down in the annals as an educational, enjoyable and memorable experience.

 Here is my programme (I folded it in half to fit in my bag on the way home).

 Now the close up photo has a crease...sorry about that!


  1. How very interesting. Barbados must rank pretty highly in diplomatic circles to get such a visit I would have thought. I would have really enjoyed that.

  2. We have had a bilateral relationship with China for many years. They have funded many government projects on the island. Every so often a contingent of performers visit the island to share their culture in either dance, song, martial arts or other disciplines.

  3. Linda, it really was an inspirational and uplifting performance....the audience really enjoyed themselves, as evidenced by the standing ovation at the end.


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