Conductor, band complete successful China tour
Valparaiso University News Release
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A recently-completed band tour of China led by Dr. Jeff Doebler, associate professor of music, received widespread media coverage in that country for concerts celebrating the Beijing Olympics and supporting earthquake relief efforts in Sichuan Province.

Dr. Doebler led Windiana – a band whose members include Valparaiso faculty and alumni along with members of the Northwest Indiana community – on a two-week tour of China this month.

During the tour, Windiana opened an Olympic festival concert in Qingdao, the city where Olympic sailing events will take place this summer. In addition to performing before a live audience of approximately 15,000 spectators at Tiantai Stadium, Windiana’s concert was broadcast to an audience of millions on Chinese television. The Qingdao concert included John Williams’ familiar Olympic theme and concluded with a new work written by Chesterton composer Michael Boo in honor of the Olympic events taking place in Qingdao.

Windiana also performed a June 21 concert at Beijing University of Languages and Culture sponsored by the Office of Chinese Language Consul International (Hanban) and Confucius Institute headquarters to support rebuilding efforts in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake. The concert was widely covered by China’s national media, including the television networks China Central Television and Beijing TV and the People’s Daily and Guangming Daily newspapers. News coverage included interviews with Jianyun Meng, director of Valparaiso’s Confucius Institute; Dr. Dennis Friesen-Carper, Reddel professor of music and a former resident director of Valparaiso’s Hangzhou Study Center; and Dr. Doebler.

Windiana’s tour took place June 12 to 25 and included nine performances in Beijing, Hangzhou, Ninbo, Xinchang and Qingdao. Three of concerts were in collaboration with China’s renowned Zhejiang Butterfly Performing Troupe and acclaimed Chinese tenor Yan Shengmin. Dr. Stacy Maugans, assistant dean of Valparaiso’s College of Arts and Sciences and a saxophone instructor, was a featured saxophone soloist during the tour.

“The tour was a fantastic cultural sharing opportunity,” Dr. Doebler said. “We connected well with all of our audiences, both because of excellent playing and because our repertoire represented a combination of Chinese music and American music.”

While the Beijing games are taking place, Windiana will present a concert featuring much of the music from its China tour during an Aug. 14 concert at 7 p.m. in La Porte’s Fox Park.