By Bradley Wilson
Editor in Chief
March 11, 1983
Pat Brittain, adviser
Unanimous approval was granted at Monday’s Band Parents meeting for the band to be the first high school musical organization to tour China.
The Eanes School Board approved the trip earlier this month.
“The invitation came after Chinese officials listened to last year’s Honor Band tapes,” Associate Band Director Andy Davidson said.
“The Westlake High School Band was the band I wanted to take. This initial performance had to be a good one,” Joseph Bellamah, trip coordinator, said.
Gerald Babbitt, Director of Music for Eanes 1.S.D., said that both the community members and fellow musicians are showing great support.
Babbitt said that the fundraising will be going in full swing next year. He said that Rent-A-Kid will be restarted, a lot more inventories will be generated and all current projects will be continued. One more door-to-door project may be added, he said.
“When it comes right down to it, it’s going to be a lot of fruit cake sales and car washes,” Band Parents vice president John Balli ioked.
A parents committee will be formed in the near future, according to Balli, to handle the fundraising aspects of the trip.
Also under consideration are students finding individual sponsors. Finding large corporate sponsors and various other items are also in the planning stages.
“It’s expensive, but it’ll be worth all the work we will have put into it,”· band member Shelley Dear said.
According to current band parents estimates, in conjunction with Bellamah the trip will cost about $2,000 per student, but prices depend greatly on the side trips which are taken.
Bellamah said he tried for many months to get an invitation sent to an American group and had almost given up. The Chinese government, however, decided to send a youth group to America and Bellamah helped arrange concerts for these students. The Chinese government reciprocated by inviting a United States band to tour China.
“I chose Westlake because of its fine reputation and because of the fine quality I heard at last year’s Texas Music Educators Association Convention when Westlake was the 4A Honor Band. If we expect to get other invitations, our first impression is important,” Bellamah said.
The invitation request was made to the Chinese government by Bellamah who has taken music groups all over the world during the past 11 years. The official invitation, however, was sent directly to Babbitt from Chinese officials.
Currently, arrangements are undergoing finalization for touring Canton and Hong Kong. Students will stay four days m each of those cities. As approved at the band parents meeting the students will also stop over in Hawaii where they will stay in dormitories at the University of Hawaii on the return trip.
Because this is the first high school musical group to tour China, several families seemed a little apprehensive. Bellamah and his associate Bill Clifford however, have already made many of the arrangements regarding· concert halls, hotels and airlines. Clifford has al_ready taken a trip to the areas that students will be seeing and secured many of these arrangements.
Students, too, are anxious for the trip. “I though last year’s trip to Washington, D.C. was going to be my big trip,” Dear said. “Whoever would have though we would be going to China?”