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?