The last stop, the last week of Beauty & Melody in the U.S., brought us to Knoxville, Iowa. Every day we could feel closer to the day to say “Goodbye.” It’s the toughest day of the tour, the final day.
A week went by as usual, workshops at Northstar Elementary school, West Elementary school and middle school. We visited the 3M factory in town, took a tour of the production area, and gave a mini performance for the workers.
The final workshop in Knoxville was for high school students.
Eric Zeal and Brandy Maloney, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) staff, escorted us to every school we visited with hot water and green teas. The week went by fast. We went to see a B-52’s concert which was a blast, and Saturday some of us went to the magic show at BCPA, as well. All were generous invitations of BCPA.
The week in Terre Haute, Indiana started with such a nice reception at the home some Arts Illiana board members, a performance at the library, workshops at the elementary schools—our schedules were filled. We often feel a bit of tired, but no one ever complains. Beauty & Melody members are always willing and proud to show their music and culture. Community people, young or old, are also eager to lean Chinese culture and their music!
Every new community we visit something happens unexpectedly.
We spent the week of September 20th in Sandusky, Ohio. It was sunny and warm; we were lucky to have such nice weather in the middle of September.
I visited the same schools and communities 6 months before with Agatsuma. I am back and glad to see the familiar faces again. The students, teachers and community people are just as I remembered—hospitable, thoughtful and appreciative.
Beauty & Melody arrived in Chicago on September 14. Months and months of preparation for a concert at Harris Theater in Chicago unfortunately had to be canceled. This cancellation was disappointing, but we managed to keep ourselves busy and had fun.
What an incredibly busy two weeks it has been! In Aberdeen, the group visited not only the local elementary, middle, and high schools, but also the Parkside Retirement Community, and the 3M factory there.
Today, we have two reports from the road—one from Shigeyo, the tour manager, and another from Cai Lingyun, the band’s interpreter.