Youth orchestra used to attract visitors

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 May, 2010, 12:00am

The northwestern hinterland of Qinghai used music to vie for attention at the World Expo in Shanghai yesterday, with a youth orchestra taking centre stage at its pavilion.

The 64 primary and middle-school students from the provincial capital Xining performed local, Chinese and Western classics to draw visitors to the China provincial pavilions' area, where it is one of 31 pavilions trying to stand out.

Among the musicians was Ba Dongzhu, a 12-year-old Tibetan from Yushu prefecture, where a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck on April 14, killing more than 2,000 people. His two sisters and two nephews died in the earthquake.

A trombonist, Ba wears a traditional Tibetan robe rather than the uniform worn by other members of the orchestra.

Ba said he was studying in Xining at the time of the disaster and had since been in daily telephone contact with his parents, who live in Yushu. 'I will stay in Shanghai for a couple of days. I would like to visit the US and Brazil pavilions,' he said. 'I want to see them because the US is the most advanced country, and I like playing football.'

Pavilion officials hope the youth orchestra will bring in more visitors. '[We] hope more people will visit Qinghai,' a Qinghai pavilion official said

Qinghai's pavilion highlights the province's natural beauty with models of glaciers and a carpet reminiscent of a plush meadow complete with Gesang flowers, which grow on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

The carpet is already a hit, with many visitors stopping to rest on it and even kicking off their shoes. But pavilion staff have been quick to intervene: 'Please put your shoes back on. It's uncivilised.'