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Building Bridges, Not Walls

Chinese middle school students join a jam session with Redwood High School's band members as part of a cultural exchange.

Redwood High School's band has some remarkable connections, but the students played with some special accompaniment Thursday.

Eighty students from Beijing Wenhui Middle School visited the Larkspur campus for a performance and BBQ during their visit to the Bay Area. The students were touring the U.S. and stopped in town as part of a cultural exchange facilitated by Larkspur City Councilman Dan Hillmer.

"A matchmaker is more of a description of what I try to do. Building relationships and creating opportunities to do things together and it's in the interest of the county and the city to promote things like this," said Hillmer, who helped forge those relationships through his work overseas as an architectural and urban design consultant.

The Chinese students spent three days in the Bay Area, visiting San Francisco and San Jose and performing at Stanford University before leaving Friday for the East Coast.

Wenhui's vice-principal said through an interpreter that he hoped the students from Redwood and Beijing could "learn from each other and become friends."

Some of the Chinese students appeared distracted at first, focused more on taking pictures and checking out an American high school campus. The curious Redwood students, meanwhile, crowded the music portable building to get a view of their visitors and to hear a different take on some familiar songs. The Chinese singers started the day with performances of "Amazing Grace" and "Small World," both in English and Chinese.

"Music connects people and so today we make a connection with music," said John Mattern, Redwood's music director during the event.

RobertoSoto August 26, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Travel connects people too, that's why I like traveling.. and music too, of course! http://www.visitourchina.com

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