Music teacher traveling to China

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

Julie Bill will play saxophone on top of The Great Wall

Julie Bill has been teaching music at Goodman Middle School in Gig Harbor for 24 years, but now it’s her turn to be the performer.

Bill will travel to China this month to play her saxophone with a New Jersey concert band.

“I just thought that this is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Bill said. “I’m just really interested to see what the (Chinese) culture is like.”

Bill traveled to southern France last summer with the Tacoma Concert Band. This year she will make the trip across the world with the Ridgewood Concert Band from New Jersey.

“There are people from all over the country who are going,” Bill said. “I’ve met a lot of people. It reaffirms for me why I’m a music teacher.”

Bill will leave Sunday and return July 20. She will be back right before the 2008 Olympic Games begin.

In China, the entire trip will be led by tour guides. Bill will see sites such as the Terracotta Warriors, the Great Wall of China, and the rural country side, where farmers will make the band breakfast and dinner.

“They’re actually going to teach us how to make traditional Chinese food,” Bill said.

The New Jersey band will be performing in major cities, like Shanghai and Beijing. They will also perform on top of The Great Wall.

“We have like one or two rehearsals in China, and then we play,” Bill said. “I just got the band music, and I need to practice before I go.”

Aside from learning about the culture and playing music, Bill said she is also excited to see different parts of China.

“I hear that the Shanghai skyline is supposed to be better than New York City. I also heard the shopping was to die for,” Bill said. “One of the most stunning things is the shear number of people there.”

Bill’s daughter, Lydia Bill, was studying China in a one of her classes while her mother was planning her trip. Lydia helped research places where Bill would be performing.

“We looked on the Internet together,” Bill said. “(Lydia) is excited that we’re going to see the Terracotta Warriors.”

Bill’s departure date is approaching, but she still has more hoops through which to jump.

“What is pretty interesting is that they’re pretty strict about visas,” Bill said.

Bill just received shots and she already had to produce a letter from the principal of Goodman Middle School as well as a bank statement, among other things.

The trip has been in the works since February. She said she is excited for the change in pace, from teaching to playing her saxophone.

“I didn’t play very much for a really long time, and I’ve just recently been really excited about playing my instrument,” Bill said. “Hopefully, my students will grow up and have the same kind of experiences.”

Reach intern Ashley Coats at 253-853-9224 or by e-mail at ashley.coats@gateline.com.

  1. See a map (PDF format) of the Ridgewood Concert Band’s trip in China here. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

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