Utah

Utah Chinese Folk Orchestra – How come?

Many were amazed (or shocked) when they learned that I play in the Utah Chinese Folk Orchestra. I go up to West Valley from Provo for practice almost every saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. – which means I have to leave Provo at 7:50 a.m. It’s not that easy for me to sacrifice my sleep… but it’s worth it – because I LOVE playing in an orchestra.

I first learned about the Utah Chinese Folk Orchestra last April from my sister. She saw a listing online or on the Eastern Trend (A free Utah Chinese newspaper) that advertised the Orchestra and she asked me to apply for it because she knew I would love to play. I played in my high school’s orchestra for four years and never had the chance to play since I came to the States in 2012. I really wanted to join when I learned that there’s a Chinese orchestra in Utah. My only concern was transportation.

I don’t have a car. The practice time is 8:30 a.m. every saturday in West Valley. It takes 45 minutes to drive up there from Provo.  The earliest Frontrunner leaves Provo at 7:50 a.m. on Saturday and arrives in Murray around 8:40 a.m. . Then I have to take bus and walk – I will arrive at 9:20 a.m., and the practice ends at 10:15 a.m. But then after two weeks of “pondering,” I decided to give it a try. I believed that if that’s something I should do, there’s always a way for me to do it.

I started evaluating different options:

(1) Ask Felix for rides. I know he wouldn’t want to take me up there every week and he would rather sleep than giving me ride, and I don’t want to be like those girls who demand their boyfriends to do harsh things for them… or I just knew he wouldn’t be happy. Not a good option.

(2) Ask different friends for rides (if they are going up to SL). I thought about asking friends on Facebook and see if there’s anyone who would go up to Salt Lake on Saturday mornings. If I am lucky, I may be able to go up there maybe once a month … But I can’t rely on something that is so uncertain… Not a good option.

(3) BYU ride board. Post ride request on the BYU ride board and see if there’s someone who would go up to Salt Lake every Saturday morning. I found some existing rides at first, but they all rejected me. Later, I post a ride request and someone got back to me! $10 for two-way door-to-door service. I can pick the time. TADA! This is wonderful! I have found someone to give me ride – with $10 fee. Although $10 is not a very big amount of money, it is not small to a poor student. But that was so far the best option. I started my $10 journey every Saturday morning.

I prayed that if that’s something I should do, I should be able to solve the money problem. Then I found some paid researches and I earned some extra $40!!! That was really a blessing!!!

I  did that for about four weeks, and summer came. They changed the practice time to 9:00. I could take the frontrunner! My orchestra leader was kind enough to pick me up from the station so that I didn’t have to walk. I did that for once or twice, and my sister sent me once (I slept over at her place), and the Orchestra’s summer holiday began. Oh and I took Felix’s car once. It was a scary experience. I drove up to West Valley alone one week after I got my driver’s license. Haha.

Things changed after the summer holiday. Felix had always been telling me that, “if you ask me to take you I will take you but you never did.” But he had soccer on Saturday mornings that I was 100 percent sure he would hate me if I really exploited his soccer time. BUT. Starting from September, he gave me to Orchestra every time – although I don’t go there every Saturday since then. But I am so glad and grateful. This also gives me opportunity to eat good food every week!!! Dim sum, bahn mi…

I enjoy playing Ruan, especially playing with people who also love Chinese music. I think Chinese music is elegant. Every time I play Chinese music, I feel peace. I hope you will find the beauty in Chinese music too.

Below is a picture taken at the Utah Chinese New Year Celebration at Cotton Wood high school. There’s two liu qing, two zhong ruan and a dai ruan. We played Spring Overture today. I LOVE that song!! We were on a elevated stage. It was so cool.

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