Coe Touring Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band to perform in Taiwan, China

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2008-07-24 08:54:07 - General

Nearly 50 members of the Coe College Touring Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band are set to travel to Taiwan and China Aug. 3-11. The ensembles consist of Coe students, faculty, alumni and friends, led by Coe Professor of Music and Band Director William Carson and music instructor Steve Shanley. The groups will perform farewell concerts in Cedar Rapids and the Chicago area, then give three performances in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Concerts will consist of six pieces by the touring wind ensemble and six pieces by the touring jazz ensemble, including the appropriately titled Sousa march, "Hands Across the Sea." While overseas, the students will also visit many historical and cultural sites.

This is Carson's first time taking the Coe band to perform in China, and he has high hopes the students will gain more than just cultural and musical experiences. "With well over one billion Chinese and a rising economy, the more we know about China, the better," said Carson. "We hope that our visit will help strengthen the bonds of friendship between our nations."

In previous years, Coe band students have been given the opportunity to understand other nation's cultures through band trips to Korea, England and Scotland. Carson looks forward to continuing this tradition during the band visit to the Far East.

Tour Details
Before leaving for China, the band will perform a farewell concert in front of the Marquis Hall steps on the Coe campus on Friday, Aug. 1, at 7 p.m. This performance is open to the public.

There will also be a performance on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 2 p.m. in Libertyville, Ill., at the "Festival of the Arts." This is an annually held event in downtown Libertyville's Cook Park and hosted by the David Adler Music and Arts Center. Special guest Dustin Helvie, Libertyville High School associate director of bands and conductor of the Libertyville Municipal Band, will conduct one selection with the Coe band, and join them in the trumpet section.

The band will then perform two concerts during their stay in Taiwan, at the Taichung Chong Shan Hall and the Sanchung City Dome Auditorium. While there, they will also travel to Taipei, Yinggee and Taichung. One of the first sites will be the Martyr's Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives during the Chinese Civil War, and is an imitation of Bejing's Forbidden City. The group will also visit the Lung Shan Temple. This historical temple was built in 1738 during the Ching Dynasty and has survived several earthquakes and typhoons. Other Taiwan sites on the trip include the National Palace Museum in Shih-Lin, Shilin Night Market, Yingge's museum and the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall.

After two performances and historical sightseeing, the band will travel to Hong Kong, arriving on Aug. 8, the same day the Olympics begin, to continue cultural experiences and prepare for their last performance at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Similar to experiences in Taiwan, the band will get to visit many of Hong Kong's famous historical sites, including Victoria Peak, Hong Kong's highest mountain. Other stops will include the Stanley Market, Repulse Bay and the Avenue of Stars. Carson and the Coe band will wrap up their trip with a final performance at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.

While the concert portion of the tour ends in Hong Kong, 25 of the band members have elected to continue on to Shanghai for an optional three-day sightseeing extension, permitting even further insight into Chinese culture. The incredible experiences of this tour should help provide band members with a greater understanding of this emerging power, and, in turn, should help represent Iowa and the United States to the Chinese - a true example of "Hands Across the Sea."