Greetings from China, as we continue on our 2018 World Tour! The Dins were busy bees during our stay, and had some opportunities to sightsee, but we were kept very busy performing and meeting Chinese students and their families. We first arrived in Shanghai, and on our first morning in China, we had the pleasure of visiting the Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world, boasting the world’s highest observation deck and the world’s fastest elevators. From that height, we were able to admire the Shanghai skyline from a truly special perspective, and we couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the city.
At midday, we visited the Yu Garden and Bazaar, with architecture dating all the way back to the 16th century. The Dins enjoyed shopping for a wide variety of goods, ranging from traditional crafts to one-of-a kind modern graphic t-shirts. Later, we dined at a restaurant in the center of Yu Garden, passing duck, shrimp, and dumpling dishes around the Lazy Susan, a glass turntable common in Chinese restaurant dinner tables, used to distribute food family-style.
With full bellies, we then embarked on our first gig of the day, which took place at the beautiful Shanghai Town and Country Club. We were greeted with very beautiful welcome decorations for the event, and performed two sets for the audience, complimented by some helpful translation of some of our introductions into Chinese. Afterword, we were even treated to some very lovely hors-d’oeuvres!
In the evening, we performed at the opulent Shanghai Kee Club, overwhelmed by the curated art and lavish décor. We enjoyed performing in the intimate environment before capping off our night with a dinner that we were humbled to say was also quite well curated!
Our second day in Shanghai featured a full day of performing, starting off with a gig throughout the day at PhiSkin, celebrating the opening of the laser and skin clinic. We began in the morning with a flash mob performance of our signature song, Sh’boom, before moving into our first set of the morning. We certainly enjoyed playing up our antics for all of the guests and the media exposure.
The rest of our busy day consisted of hosting a meet and greet with middle school aged students and giving a public performance in a theater at Jiao Tong University. We spent the entire day—from sunup to sundown—in our tuxedo tails, exchanging more songs and smiles than we could count!
Moving on to Beijing, we were lucky enough to be welcomed by Din alumni Wayne Fu (#129) who organized a wonderful dinner gig for us. We ate dinner with local families and talked about our academic journeys. The atmosphere was fun and light, as we tried our hands telling some jokes in Chinese, giving our audiences a few surprises. We owe so much to Wayne Fu for being such a delightful contact for us during our stop in Beijing and for being our Emcee for that gig as well.
On our second day in Beijing, we met in the morning hold small-group discussions with Chinese high school students on how to focus their efforts towards applying to American colleges. We discussed topics like leadership, community service, time-management, and navigating the components of the application. The Dins had a great time sharing wisdom and exchanging stories with students with diverse talents from scientific research to origami and paper-cutting!
Our main performance in Beijing took place in at a local University. Both Sam and Michael agreed to give talks on the themes that we discussed in the morning relating to applying to American schools. They also occasionally found their wits tested, in front of a very amused crowd. The Dins joined the school choir for a rendition of the stirring two-part choral, Can You Hear Me? by Bob Chilcott, which was a very poignant musical exchange dealing with the song’s theme of music, disability, community, and common voice.
After all of that, we finished our time in Beijing with a last dinner of Peking Duck, which many found to be one of their favorite meals of tour! And with that, we had to say zài jiàn!
Onward to Hong Kong!
Sydney Mukasa #234