Concert Band Tour Packs Chinese Halls
August 12, 1992
The Windsor Community Concert Band (today known as Music Express) proved during its three-week tour of China that music is indeed an international language. The group, which returned to Windsor last Friday, performed before large audiences in each of the six cities it played.
Kathleen Paterson, the band’s public relations director, said crowds of between 1,000 and 2, 000 people were not uncommon.
"They (the concert halls) were pretty well packed most nights," she said.
Paterson who plays percussion instruments and sings, said the group logged about 2, 000 miles during the tour, traveling by bus, plane, taxi and a steam-driven train which left the 48 band members covered in soot by the time they reached their destination.
Paterson said the band played jazz, the Beatles, Vivaldi, Wagner, ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll and Chinese folk melodies.
"They love anything western," she said.
As a gesture of friendship, the band gave sheet music to several of the Chinese bands that attended its performances. The trip to China was not all work: The travel itinerary included visits to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Ming Tombs. Other cities visited included Nanjing, Hangzhou and Changchun, Windsor’s newest twin city.
Paterson said the highlight of the trip for her was performing for the Chinese people, who she described as friendly and appreciative.
"I enjoyed the reaction of the people. They were wonderful. We even signed autographs."
The band members paid $3,000 each for the trip and additional money was raised through bingo, casinos, the sale of concert tickets in Windsor and a government grant.
The Windsor Community Concert Band has about 75 members and regularly performs at the Cleary Auditorium.