Wednesday dawned bright and pleasant. After we went through the usual boring airport procedures (checking in, security, and so on), we were seated in a plane from China Southern Airlines and soaring through the air to Shanghai.
When we arrived, a short bus trip brought us to the Holiday Inn, the hotel we were staying in. The rest of the day was devoted to free time (mostly on our phones!) after we checked in, and for dinner, we went to a lovely restaurant with lots of delicious food!
On Thursday, we all woke up at six, packed up the necessary items (such as music sheets) we needed for the day and were down on the first floor for breakfast at seven. We met many students from other schools, although we didn’t really interact or make friends with them until we arrived at BISS Puxi, where the fun started.
The Head of Music there, Mr Morris, gave us a talk about the itinerary for the day and introduced us to our conductor, Oliver Hagen. I was so enthusiastic about working with someone from the Juiliard School, and it was a good thing it didn’t go to waste; his conducting style was unique and extremely helpful, not to mention that it stopped us from getting too bored during the rigorous hours of rehearsals that followed. Another thing that prevented us from going round the bend was the frequent breaks we had, and the interesting workshops we participated in. I myself was involved in the Beginner Dance workshop, which was great fun!
The same structure went for Friday, except the rehearsals, especially the sectionals, were becoming increasingly thorough, meticulous, and painstaking. Why? Concert day was tomorrow, so we had no time to waste! Despite leaving us exhausted, with aching fingers, calluses, and, in the wind and brass players’ cases, shortness of breath and painful mouths, the rehearsals were also nothing short of entertaining and fruitful, thanks to Hagen and the other hardworking participants. Later, a visit to the theater, our concert venue, was in order. It was a very nice place, particularly when the lights were turned off, revealing the starry ceiling.