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West China

Across China: Melodic tunes echo in remote farmlands

2021-03-24 09:48:43

CHONGQING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Melodious tunes of a western symphony reverberate through the green field at a small village in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

The performers are farmers from the Beidou Village located in the municipality's Yinglong Township. Having already embraced a better life financially over the past years, they are now looking to transcend local folk dances and mahjong games and explore other cultural avenues for leisure.

Thus, after the China National Symphony Orchestra donated a batch of wind instruments to the township in 2010, the farmers put aside their mahjong tiles and formed an orchestra, adding varied tunes to their mundane life, said Yang Xiaogang, head of the village committee.

"At first we didn't have decent rehearsal rooms, so we went across the field to rehearse in the mountain groves," said Zhang Yufu, a 50-year-old trumpeter with the orchestra.

But, a genuine passion for music was far from enough to run a good orchestra. The untrained members either failed to produce any sound or just created inharmonic notes with the instruments at the beginning of the class. Eventually, the orchestra was reduced to seven people from over 30 applicants.

Zhang, however, refused to give up. He memorized all the tunes and scrambled to figure out how to play the instrument. Meanwhile, other members also made great progress from failing to read sheet music to performing more than 20 songs skillfully through relentless practice.

With their voluntary performances flowing smoothly, the orchestra subsequently performed at many notable music venues including the Beijing Concert Hall and the National Center for the Performing Arts. They even shared the stage with the China National Symphony Orchestra, a top orchestra in the country, on multiple occasions.

Members who had earlier withdrawn wanted to rejoin the orchestra, and farmers from neighboring villages were also attracted to it.

"I aspired to be a musician when I was young, but I never had the chance to pursue my dream. So, I signed up for the orchestra as soon as I learned about it," said Tang Hongbing, conductor of the orchestra.

With systematic training and incentive mechanisms, the orchestra has now grown to over 20 regular members and more than 30 amateur musicians.

"My favorite song is 'On the Field of Hope' as the lyrics portray our prevailing happy lives," Zhang said. Enditem

Editor:Jiang Yiwei