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When many young hearts play as one

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-23 06:17

The Beijing Golden Sail Junior Orchestra performs in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2020, as the orchestra's head Hu Yang gives a speech. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A decade of Beijing's youth orchestra shaping lives and spreading joy, Chen Nan reports.

When Li Guanlin's mother saw that the Beijing Golden Sail Junior Orchestra was recruiting four years ago, she signed her son up.

For Guanlin, who has been learning the violin since he was 6, and who practices for at least two hours a day after school, playing the violin with other children of a similar age was a fresh experience.

"I can still remember the first time I went to rehearsals. I was nervous and the piece the teacher told us to play was difficult," the now 12-year-old recalls. "I was concentrating fully and listened carefully to the way the others played, hoping I wouldn't make a mistake. The rehearsal was challenging but we ended up playing beyond our expectations. I had never felt so happy before, much happier than playing by myself."

Guanlin set himself the goal of becoming the orchestra's first violin, a goal he achieved six months after joining.

One recent Saturday morning, he took part in a three-hour rehearsal in preparation for a concert that will take place at Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall on Jan 30 to celebrate the Beijing Golden Sail Junior Orchestra's 10th anniversary.

The concert will include performances of Chinese and Western music, including the fourth movement of the Yellow River Piano Concerto by Xian Xinghai, Symphony No 9 in E Minor, Op 95 by Antonin Dvorak — also known as From the New World- and The Barber Of Seville: Overture by Gioachino Rossini.

According to Hu Yang, the founding member and head of the Beijing Golden Sail Junior Orchestra, all 145 current members will perform alongside 60 other musicians trained by the orchestra.

"The pieces we have chosen to play are ones we normally perform on tour. We also chose some very popular pieces to appeal to the audience, and especially to children who are learning to play instruments," says Hu.

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