News from Olivia Contini, SCEN Nanning Ambassador, in Nanning!

23 October 2017

E1694847-92AF-47FB-9039-79997D6141DD-3287-000003C8549C02C9_tmpWhat a success day one in Nanning, Guangxi has been! The Preston Lodge Pipe Band (who arrived very late last night), Ed Hoffie of the Eden English Language School and myself visited the Education Activity Centre for Primary and Middle School students, to participate in a musical arts performance. The students watching were blown away (quite literally) by the Preston Lodge Pipe Band's fabulous first performance, with everyone tapping their feet and clapping along. I was quite moved to hear the pipes and drums so far from home! I spoke to the students before the band played, introducing SCEN and the pipe band. We then saw fantastic musical performances from Chinese students of all ages, and heard many stunning traditional Chinese instruments.

The centre's director, Chen Yaling, was very welcoming. I signed an agreement with him on behalf of SCEN, formally establishing a connection between Nanning and Scotland.

After a tour around the school - including a few competitions using the students' award winning robots - we were taken to Qingxiu Mountain. Nanning is nicknamed the 'green city' owing to it's many parks and natural areas. The mountain was stunning, and from the peak we could see the whole of Nanning - including the exhibition centre where the pipe band will be performing at the Nanning International Arts Festival of Folk Songs on Tuesday night!

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It's day two in Nanning and the real work has begun! The pipe band are performing a lot on this tour, but the main performance is at the opening ceremony of the 19th Nanning International Arts Festival of Folk Songs - what an honour for the band to be involved! So today, rehearsals began!

After some recording for the backing track, the band were up on stage practicing their entrance and a few dance moves! They did very well despite the heat in the stadium, and were quite the celebrities among the staff and other young performers, posing for many pictures!

The arrangment that the band are involved in, 'Song Across the Land', is culturally diverse music piece, including Chinese music, singing in the Zhuang minority language (the largest minority group in Guangxi Province), Malaysian singing and of course, the pipes! The band play a central role in the composition, and your hearts will soar when you hear  'Scotland the Brave' among the Chinese music - it is truly epic, and a wonderful celebration of culture. Video to follow after the main performance on Tuesday...