July 10, 2012

Grand Finale in Christchurch and Oamaru

By Eric Jang

Oamaru Opera House <br> Photo by Mark Herring LightingLast in a series

Kiora!

Wow, these last 10 days have gone by in such a blur. Some of us can't believe tour is already over and are still scrambling to buy souvenirs.

The last couple days have definitely been busier, but fun all the same. Activities included riding a big ferry to the South Island, throwing rocks into the ocean for a few minutes, playing our last two concerts in Christchurch and Oamaru, and a whole lot of buffets and bus rides in between.

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Musicians Council thought it would be nice to bring small gifts for the Christchurch Youth Orchestra musicians, so we asked each player to bring a small gift. Apparently New Zealanders are very fond of Reese’s peanut butter cups, so we listed it as an example in the tour booklet.

It ended up that nearly everyone brought peanut butter cups for the exchange. (The creativity is simply overwhelming, isn't it?) Regardless, I think the Kiwis were grateful and very excited to meet us anyway. Playing Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet with CYO was absolutely delightful.

I'll just share a few things that I learned. On trips such as these, it's so important to find enjoyment amid the long bus rides and activities. Therefore, I would like to thank all the people who made the tour a really special experience for me. There is something magical about doing stupid things with friends, like eating disgusting jelly beans, singing in the bus, playing "chubby bunny," and sprinting to McDonalds after curfew (hypothetically speaking, of course) that throws in a dash of excitement into life. The list of wild and crazy things go on and on.

Apart from the "YOLO" moments, I really enjoyed the idyllic atmosphere of New Zealand. As we grow older, we gain more respect for things like beautiful scenery, museums, and plain oatmeal. Even sitting on a fence with a few friends just to watch sheep can be quite relaxing. I suppose I'm getting old already.

So much has happened that I could probably ramble on forever, but I think I'll just cut things short and say that it has been an honor to be able to share my experiences with SFCV readers. New Zealand is such a beautiful country and I will treasure these memories forever.

Eric Jang has played cello with the California Youth Symphony for 7 years. He recently graduated from Cupertino High School where he was editor of the school newspaper and a member of the varsity water polo team. He will attend Brown University in the fall.