Spontaneous Combustion

Spontaneous combustion “Spontaneous Combustion,” the show toured throughout China during this past month, will be presented to the public on Saturday, May 5, in the Dutton Gym at Leland and Gray at 7:30 P.M. The show, created by directors Ron Kelley, long-time music teacher at the school, Jennifer Connor, 21st Century Grant Coordinator in the WCSU, and 18 students from Leland and Gray, Brattleboro Union High School and Green Mountain High School, was enthusiastically received by audiences ranging from kindergarteners and primary school students in special Mongolian schools in Inner Mongolia to middle school, college and university students in Chongqing and Sichuan Province in southwest China and in Shandong Province in eastern China. Continue reading

4/23/12 – The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom Grade 9 Newfane Our last full day in China was a good note to end on. We woke up after sunrise, which was a nice change and headed to the Temple of Heaven. I really liked it there; it was full of old people and beautiful temples and flowers and trees. We had about ten minutes to walk around each temple that we visited and I went off by myself most times to a less crowded section. Continue reading

4/20/12 – Mongolian Kindergarten and Last Rehearsal

Mongolian Kindergarten Claire Miramontes Grade 10 Newfane claireAfter going through the gate that every school we have seen seems to have, we are greeted by Mongolian teachers wearing traditional clothing and singing a Mongolian welcome to us. We walked past the singers and, expecting to be a kindergarten classroom with kids all playing with playdough anc coloring, the reality of it hit me; the entire building was different classrooms with different age groups. Directly to our right there was a room with 3 year olds in traditional Mongolian clothing who we then later visited. They sang us a song and READ from their books to us. We were then led upstairs and greeted by 4 or 5 year old little Mongolians in traditional garb, carrying little chairs to a room that resembled a dance studio and had little kid-size chairs and Mongolian snacks waiting for us. After our fair share of milk tea, dried cheese, apples and pears, different groups of kids no older than 4 entered the room to perform for us. These children were doing some Mongolian dance moves that we had just learned in our collaboration with Hudele and the Arts College students and singing songs that we couldn’t understand a word of but yet, it was mesmerizing and left us all overjoyed and gushing about how cute they all were. Continue reading

4/19/12 – Hotpot Dinner, Third Collaboration Day, IMU Attached Middle School

Hotpot Dinner and Third Collaboration Day Arik Clark Grade 10 Newfane ArikWow! It just hit me when I got up this morning; this amazing trip is almost over. Only a couple of more days in Inner Mongolia and I am having an unbelievable time here in China.   Today we are going to water trees that were planted by previous Journey East groups in the “Sino-American Friendship Forest.” The forest symbolizes the friendship and relationship between China and America. We rode out on the bus with Mongolian students from the Attached Middle School of the Arts College. They spoke English quite well, even though it was not their major. I was really impressed with the students. Continue reading

4/18/12 – Jin Long Plus Primary School and Sino-American Friendship Forest

Jin Long Plus Primary School and Sino-American Friendship Forest Robin Joslin Grade 10 Wardsboro RobinFraser, Stephen and I had an extraordinary, one-time experience after dinner this evening.  When we arrived at the Arts  College on Monday, the 16th, we got to choose whether we wanted to take part in a dancing routine or a music piece for the show.  The three of us chose the music.  Wednesday, the 18th, after only 2 days of practice, we got to do something we were not expecting when we first got to the Art College; record our piece along with horsehead fiddlers, zither musicians and Mongolian singers in an actual studio. Continue reading

4/17/12 – Second Collaboration Day at the Arts College of Inner Mongolia

Second Collaboration Day at the Arts College of Inner Mongolia Alexa Litchfield Grade 9 Jamaica AlexaIt is not a tradition to wake up early and exercise. I have clear memories of kids in Qufu pouring out of the doors of the school at 9:25 in the morning in a hectic, yet organized manner. All of the students began to form categorized lines from one end of the large soccer field to the other. Literally thousands (4,500) took part in this in a matter of minutes. Once every class seemed in place, music began to play. The crowd was all in sync with the exercises with the exception of our group from America. Continue reading

4/16/12 – First Collaboration Day at the Arts College of Inner Mongolia

Addie Mahdavi Grade 10 Newfane AddieIf today taught me anything, it is that relationships develop in all different ways.   In just a few hours I have begun to realize all the factors that go into shaping this development; distance, the original nature of the relationship, each person involved, cultural differences…our relationships are perhaps the most indefinite, unpredictable things in our lives.  I have found that my friendships with people from foreign countries tend to dwindle and peter out eventually, with any occasional visits being uncomfortable and awkward.   Continue reading

4/14/12 – Dazhao, Museum and Dinner with Host Families

Hohhut Erik Johansson Grade 9 Marlboro EricEven though I cannot believe how fast this trip is going by, every day on it’s own seems to last a lifetime. Today was no exception. We started with our first breakfast in Inner Mongolia which, in my opinion, was the best breakfast we’ve had in a while. Then, after packing our day bags we departed from the hotel for our first activity of the day; the Inner Mongolia Provincial Museum, just down the street from our hotel. The building itself was impressive with lots of glass and pillars and stunning green, grassy hills on each side. Inside the museum we saw a couple of exhibits about the history of Inner Mongolia, mostly focusing on Genghis Khan’s life and dynasty. We also walked through dinosaur exhibit, which contained a number of very impressive skeletons and fossils. We then got back on the bus for about a fifteen minute ride to a nearby lamasery. Continue reading