China blog, part 1: Caitlin Quinlan gets ready

When we first played Strauss waltzes last year in a Vanderbilt Orchestra concert, Maestro (Robin) Fountain told us that often they were played and danced to at festive New Year’s celebrations in Vienna. I thought that would be a perfectly elegant way to spend that holiday — and now my dreams are coming true, though the location is slightly different than I originally imagined.

The Vanderbilt Orchestra has the privilege of playing five concerts in different cities in Eastern China, starting our trip in Shanghai and ending in Beijing.

Rehearsals began on Thursday, Dec. 20, and it felt like the beginning of summer camp — all of us here just to play together with no other silly obligations like homework or classes!

Our concert program is a varied selection of classics from American composers Leonard Bernstein, John Williams and Aaron Copland, two Chinese traditional songs, and favorite waltzes and dances by Johann Strauss Jr. We had rehearsals twice a day, so our progress was much faster than during the academic year, which gives a kind of instant gratification and satisfaction.

It’s also great seeing some old faces, both alumni and current students who have returned from being abroad, and getting to spend quality time with them playing music and hanging out.

In China, we’ll be traveling on an almost daily basis, so we’ve be storing up on sleep while in Nashville and getting ready for an exciting adventure! This is sure to be an unforgettable and rewarding experience that I am excited to share with the people at home!

Caitlin Quinlan
Vanderbilt ’14,
Blair School of Music
Cello Performance and Spanish
Strauss Waltz Enthusiast

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