This year the Edina Concert Band will spend its spring break sightseeing and playing music in Hong Kong, China. This once in a lifetime opportunity gives many of the high school band members their first opportunity to travel out of the country as well as share their love of music.
Edina’s concert band director, Paul Kile, is thrilled about this opportunity he is able to experience with his students. The Edina band has traveled to Hong Kong before, but it has been nearly two decades since the last trip. However, Kile has kept in touch with friends he made when he was there and is eager to see them again after all of these years.
“International travel is a part of the Edina Band program’s history and is one of the ways we work to foster world citizenship in our students,” Kile says.
The focus of the trip is equal parts music and culture oriented since the intent is to have the students share their music with others as well as explore and learn about customs, food, rituals and the people who live in a different country. For the performance side, throughout the week the band will perform at two venues, the Hong Kong International School, where they will be playing with the St. Paul Convent School of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Symphonic Band, as well as at Disneyland-Hong Kong.
“At each of our performances we will also have time to interact with students of Hong Kong and celebrate our common interest in music as well as learn about each other’s cultures,” Kile says.
As for sightseeing, the band will cram as much as they can into their days spent overseas. They will go to several religious temples, including the Wong Tai Sin Temple, as well as other historical locations such as the Stilited fishing village. The students will even get to eat a traditional vegetarian lunch served by monks on Lantau Island. The focus will be on seeing how the people of Hong Kong live and learning to respect and admire the beauty and deep rooted history present in their culture.
“We will be taking in as much culture as we possibly can in our short time there–everything from food to Tai Chi,” Kile says.
Although Kile has gone on several such international trips with the Edina band, getting to experience these learning moments with his students never gets old. He continually challenges them to get outside of their comfort zones and truly learn about other people who are different than them.
“I enjoy watching them during student exchanges as they are such great ambassadors for Edina, Minnesota and the U.S. but they are also eager to learn about teenage life outside the U.S. and so appreciative for the experience of connecting with others,” Kile says.
Earlier this year the band also had the honor of performing in the NBA Wisconsin Chapter State Conference and the Minnesota Music Educators Association Midwinter clinic, both of which require complex audition processes in order to be accepted. All of these opportunities highlight the hard work and success of the music program in Edina.
“We are absolutely honored to be able to represent Edina at both events,” Kile says.
For info on upcoming concerts or how to support Edina bands, click here.