Carnoustie High School Band will head east this September to become the first youth brass band to tour China.
The remarkable opportunity came following a performance at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow in 2016 for the renowned Confucius Institute for Scotland.
Such was the success that it led to the school's head teacher Donald Currie being contacted to set the ball rolling on the ambitious initiative — and now, after almost two years of research and fundraising the band will fly out on 7th September for 15 unforgettable days of music and cultural learning.
Confucius Hubs are based in schools and seek to make links with local communities throughout Scotland — with Carnoustie serving the Angus area. It promotes the joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.
The band will fly out from Glasgow, and after a short stop in Dubai will carry on to China where they will enjoy seven days in Tianjin and seven more in Beijing before their return.
While in Tianjin, the band members will be learning Mandarin, as well as performing three concerts. They will also visit Chinese families and schools, enabling the young musicians to experience Chinese culture first hand with a chance to learn Gongfu (Chinese martial arts), Tai Chi, and the ancient arts of calligraphy and mask painting.
In Beijing they will perform at three more concerts as well as visiting the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and other iconic landmarks. One of the highlights will be performing at the Ambassador's residence at the British Embassy in front of 2,000 invited guests.
Conductor Michael Robertson told 4BR that the tour is a remarkable opportunity as well as an honour for the band: "The amazing effort in fundraising reflects the desire of everyone to make this a once in a lifetime's trip.
I would like to thank the amazing support we have received from the Carnoustie public and local businesses which have helped make this venture possible.
All the money raised has gone to buying visas, transporting instruments, coach hire and percussion hire. As well as the band, there will be a piper, two Scottish country dancers and five staff travelling."
The amazing effort in fundraising reflects the desire of everyone to make this a once in a lifetime's tripCarnoustie Youth Band conductor, Michael Robertson
He added: "I'm very proud to be taking these young musicians to China. They work so hard and are a joy to teach."
The band will be giving a farewell concert on Thursday, 30th August (7.00pm) in the Carnoustie High School theatre.