China-US military bands hold joint concert in Beijing

The United States Army Band has held its first performance in China. In a goodwill musical exchange focusing on friendship and cooperation through the performing arts, the two countries´ military bands made history by holding a joint concert at Beijing’s National Center of Performing Arts.

Entitled “Friendship and Cooperation through Music”, the joint concert paired US Army Band musicians with their Chinese military counterparts. The joint concert is another major step in building better ties between the two armies, after China’s People’s Liberation Army Military Band was invited to perform in Washington last year.

Col. Thomas Palmatier, conductor of US Army Band, said, “Actions speaks loud, and we are here, we are here because the leader of our army had wonderful discussions with the leader of the People Liberation Army, and I think leaders from both sides desire us to have much more communication and cooperation on a sustained basis.”

The premier in China of the US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” with the PLA Military Band drew an audience of more than 1600, including senior military officials and diplomatic envoys. The two bands performed a mixed program highlighting the unique and rich musical legacy of each country.

Despite the difference in culture and political regimes, tonight the world’s two superpowers found harmony through music. Many consider this cultural exchange “good public diplomacy”, which helps build trust, improve understanding and communication.

The PLA Military Band and the US Army Band gave their first joint performance in 2011, which was hailed as a breakthrough since it was the Chinese band’s first official trip to the United States. It was a historic event that took 30 years to realize.

Zou Rui, director of PLA Military Band, said, “If music is the universal language for people, then military music is the universal language for soldiers. I believe this joint concert will help the two militaries from China and the US build better ties, and also improve the friendship between the two nations.”

The two countries’ military bands will also give joint concerts in Shanghai and Nanjing. Pershing’s Own is scheduled to return to the US on November 5th after the tour.

Photos by Song Jihe / ChinaNews

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