The view from here…Part 2

It was very likely the first time in all of history that German Opera was sung by an African American man at a traditional “You” wedding. This historical event happened here in K-town, China, the last stop at the end of the traditional Silk Road. It was a 26 hour train ride to get here from U-town and what a delight to have our group unexpectedly invited to a wedding the very next day. The portion of the festivities to which we were invited involved 2 meals, dance lessons, witnessing the traditional arrival of the bride, men’s dance and women’s dance, and food, food, food. The hosts’ only request of us? That we offer some music for their 500+ guests to enjoy. Our group pulled together a very mediocre, yet enthusiastic rendition of “Lean on Me”, which was graciously received. But the real treat was that we could offer true talent in the form of our friend singing German Opera.

To put this in context, black folks here, and we have two in our group, draw all kinds of attention. Walking through the streets with them involves constant stares, people taking photos, frequent stops for stilted conversations….so, having a black man sing at the wedding was a spectacle of some magnitude.

The wedding was probably the biggest wedding I’ve ever attended. And these folks took having a videographer at their wedding to a whole new level. Their outfit was complete with a dolly track and a full sized camera jib that sent a camera sailing around us during our musical number. The dancing was highlighted with rock concert lighting and a booming sound system. The whole experience was very exciting.

Overall, being at that wedding felt like one of the greatest gifts of my life. Oh, and did I mention that this all happened on my birthday??? What unexpected gifts have you been given on your birthday?


  • Danny Greenawalt

    what the whaaaat? Crazy story!

    July 19, 2012
  • Ebbe

    This sounds like a cross-cultural dream come true!! I love that everyone there was able to experience something that was very different than what they would have experienced at their cultures version of a “normal” wedding. Thanks for sharing the experience with us. And Happy Birthday!!!

    July 19, 2012
  • RD


    What an experience, a Wedding for your birthday. We will have to do something spectacular here for your birthday. The boat is in the water and the station is fixed so you are in luck on your return.

    Much love for all of you.

    RD and ML

    July 19, 2012
  • Peggy E

    Happy Birthday Janice! I remember celebrating with you in HH back in ’99. What a treat!

    July 19, 2012
  • Vaughan Brown

    Wow! What a way to celebrate a birthday! I second that, ‘a cross-cultural dream come true!’!! Sounds like this trip has already been a blessing for all involved.

    July 19, 2012
  • Tim

    Very cool. And so cool for your kids to have this experience with you guys.

    July 27, 2012

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