Taipei Adventist American School
The Adventist Elementary School in Taiwan lies just to the North of Taipei on a mountain called Yang Ming Shan. It is a rather out of the way place in the midst of trees and tall grass. Though, it is still surrounded by housing, not a as tightly packed as in Taipei or most other cities. As the school came into view I couldn't help but think of the resemblances between the Adventist college in Italy, Villa Aurora. The long driveway winding through small trees and shrubs climbing up a fairly steep hill. Then the gate came into view I a really started making comparisons with Villa Aurora. High walls surrounding the entrance way and a little yard in front of and off to the right side of the main building. This is where the comparisons stop however. TAAS is a one building place. All the grades are in a three story building constructed in like manner with many of the older buildings in Taiwan. Though I think this one tries to give as much semblance to an American structure with plenty of windows.
The program I did was rather extemporaneous but it came off well. I played some Bach Prelude and Sarabande from Suite No. 1, something fast and flashy by Franceour, and the exposition of the concerto in D major by Haydn. The kids were asking all sorts of questions. A very talkative, but quite informed bunch they were. In between the pieces I played were questions like, "Can you play Silent Night on the cello?"So, I demonstrated one verse and they loved that since they knew the tune well. Then one of the teachers, David Robinson, asked if I could accompany the kids as they sang Amazing Grace. That is how I finished the presentation.
This kind of program is one that leaves you feeling satisfied. I was able to share what I love and show them how amazing the cello is and how great Classical music is to listen to and play. They were all very receptive to the playing, which helps me think that Classical music may not die away quite like we have been hearing in the past few years. I think, with education and exposure to the art we classical musicians will have informed listeners who love the genre for centuries to come.