Some comments from Diane about our concert in New Year’s Day:
‘Our fourth concert presented new surprises. We thought we were on our way to Shenzhen, but we were driven to Longgang. We wondered if this was a mistake: the day before, one of the the bus drivers had been lost for half an hour. But no, the hotel staff seemed to be expecting us, and we soon learned that we had been scheduled to play in at a theater in Longgang, a suburb of Shenzhen. Hmm! The theatre was nice, with good acoustics, but the facilities were not on the level of the other theatres where we performed. (All the other theatres were part of the Poly group.)
‘To our surprise, we found an out-of-tune upright piano on stage for Sheryll, our orchestral pianist. The piano has important parts in many of our pieces, so this was disappointing. Moments before we went on stage, we located a nice grand in the far corner of the backstage area. By then it was too late; Sheryll had to play the first half of the concert on the tinny upright. At intermission, the proper piano was brought on. Other surprises awaited. After our second song, tinsel from the show the day before started wafting down in our direction. Then a man in the balcony started fighting with his friends, and the slender usher had to run and find someone stronger to help her have the man removed!’
Despite all these surprises, the standard of our performance again improved over the previous evening, and the audience seemed to enjoy it, becoming more enthusiastic as the show progressed.
Next morning, we had a short bus ride to Shenzhen proper, and arrived the splendid entrance of the Hotel Kempinsky (5-star). Such luxury! But our rooms were not ready when we arrived, so to compensate we were given vouchers for the hotel lunch buffet. Members of the orchestra were seen walking around in a daze at the array of delicious items available – traditional Chinese, sushi, hot dishes cooked before ones eyes, wonderful desserts, etc.