The Manhattan Symphonie at NCEPU

Five months into my contract and a new year has begun. Guess what, America?! China got the new year first!! And we’re getting a second new year in February, and the party’s gonna last for a week!! SO, HA!!! I also got to see the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra perform here at North China Electric Power University (NCEPU), so that was nice, too.

The organization was started in 2005 by conductor Gregory Singer. In a short toast during a dinner party at the university after the concert (which my colleagues and I crashed), Mr. Singer said he started the orchestra to spread messages of hope and peace throughout the world. Mr. Singer is an absurdly friendly and down to earth man; he took photos with dozens of audience members after the concert, let us English teacher crash the party, and took photos with us as well. When the man performed on stage, he put every molecule of his existence into making the experience fun and lively.

I also spoke with several of the orchestra members at the dinner. It took me a while and a couple of drinks to actually get comfortable and start talking. Most of the members seem to be invited by Mr. Singer from what I gathered when I asked how they joined. The orchestra is also a part-time gig for most of the members I spoke with. Some are pursuing their master’s or doctorate degrees; one mentioned working in a meditation center as a registrar. Two even expressed interest in this little blog, so here’s to you Peter and Ally if you’re reading this.

I was able to speak with them for about 2 and a half hours before they began to pack their luggage for a 4:30 in-the-morning run to Shanghai for their final performance in China. I hope they were as welcomed in Shanghai as they were here in Baoding.

I want to extend a very personal thanks to Mr. Singer and the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra for bringing some great music and helping break my usual, boring routine for one Sunday night. You can read more about the Manhattan Symphonie here.

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