Yilan, Taiwan

Day two and things aren’t quite as scary as we were expecting them to be. We are well looked after here. Provided with delicious food surrounded by a large number of people who speak very good English and teaching children who are obviously very interested in what we have to give. The school day here is long, particularly for the high school students who are at school from 8 until 5 every day! Shows us Australians up for how slack we really are. On the other hand, should teenage have to spend that amount of time in school? An interesting question.

We were met at the airport on Sunday very early in the morning by some wonderful people whose names I never learned, but they put us on a bus to Yilan along with food and drink. We spent the trip sleepily looking at foreign mountains and lush green vegetation, learning the traditional Taiwanese songs we had been given, and sleeping.

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Judy drinking the tea that was provided for us on the bus ride to Yilan.

We arrived at the school in pouring rain and quickly scattered to our respective host’s houses for a rest, and hopefully sleep, before our concert at 6pm. But for us, back to school by four to rehearse. The 1000 Years concert is always a tricky one, with a large selection of music to choose from and a number of pieces that need to be rehearsed in any new space. These rehearsals always involve a lot of what Ellen has so wonderfully named ‘the faff dance’

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Gathering to rehearse the plain chant


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...and on the stage, we didn't end up performing there though because the rain on the roof was just too loud.

The performance went very well, despite our tiredness, lack of time to rehearse and the rain! It was wonderful to walk out into the hall and to sing for so many smiling faces. It is so much easier to enjoy performing when you can see that the audience is enjoying it too!

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Dance Royal. Dancing whilst playing, and in my case, trying to look like I'm enjoying myself when I'm blowing my hardest into the tenor crumhorn, an action that naturally brings forth a very worried, concentrating look.


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half way through the final bow...

We received a standing ovation and calls for an encore at the end of the concert! I’m so glad the audience enjoyed it. Particularly since it was a long concert anyway. Also a wonderful way for us to begin the international section of our tour.

Then on Monday, back to teaching. The biggest challenge of course being that we can’t speak the language. But we are helped by wonderful teachers and parent volunteers who translate for us. Also by having wonderfully Responsive students. We are not spread a thinly as we feared, only three simultaneous groups and three long lessons in a day. Very civilised! An time in the afternoon to put into rehearsing our music for upcoming concerts. Yay!

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View of the main bulding olding most of te classrooms at the school

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The hall

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The centre of Yilan as I was driving home today...

Flight

It is 5am local time and we are about half an hour away from landing in Taipei. A wonderfully uneventful flight. But its hard to believe we now have a whole day ahead of us with a concert in about 12hours! The sun has just risen. Judy is back to working and bleary eyed people are gradually waking up.

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Since I’ll have to wait until we get to the airport to send this I may as well continue a running commentary of events. On the other hand not a lot is going on for me to write about!… so I won’t. We have arrived Safe and sound. Waiting for luggage and for Ellen to find her jacket. Being unwell makes it very hard to keep track of things.

We’re in Taipei!!!

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waiting with luggage

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love from Carmen!