World Tour Reflection

Now, that I'm back in Austin and am settled into my new apartment, I finally have some time to reflect on the UTWE's World Tour. It's hard to believe that it is almost August and I got back to the United States six weeks ago.

Every time someone asked me how the tour was, I cannot muster up any coherent words/phrases. All I pretty much say is, "It was amazing!" I still cannot really comprehend the grandeur of the trip. What an incredible experience it was to travel literally around the world playing nine concerts in four different countries. Every hall, audience, and performance was little different. Our program and sound transformed to enhance the new venue. At the bottom of this post is a video of the UTWE playing John Mackey's Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band in Tokyo, Japan.

The audiences were so attentive and grateful for our performances and I really enjoyed meeting the young fans/students afterwards. Below is a picture of me and few students after the concert in Okazaki City, Japan.

In addition to the concerts, the cultures of all of these different places were inspiriting and eye opening. I could write forever about all of the different things I did during the trip, but I’ll spare you the time. My favorite time on the tour was teaching the students in Shenzhen, China. The young saxophonist were so excited to play for us and so eager to learn. Even though there was a significant language barrier, we managed to still communicate through music. Very cool! Other highlights of the tour included: the Great Wall of China, Victoria Peak, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Night Market, Yamaha, and the food - everywhere!

Hats off to Professor Jerry Junkin and the Teaching Assistants! They planned and orchestrated an absolutely marvelous trip that I will remember forever.

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Hastings, Nebraska.

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© 2020 Nathan Mertens.