This article represents my wonderful experiences in Beijing and Shanghai in the first two weeks of August 2010. The International Society for Music Education held its biennial conference in Beijing, China in August 2010. This is the very first time ISME has been held in China since its founding by UNESCO in 1953. The custom of the conference is to have papers, forums, and workshops in English and also in the language of the host country. The elaborate three-hour opening ceremony was a mélange of vocal music, instrumental music, folk art, and dance (with three large video screens of lovely backgrounds and English/ Chinese titles) representing various academic and cultural groups. The performances included: ancient songs and "The Dragon Year Concerto" performed by Hua Xia National Orchestra and Choir of the China Conservatory; excerpts from "Ushjak Muqam" by Xinjian Muqam Art Group; Tibetan Buddhist music by King Kong Dancing Team of Xianzong Temple and Tongtianhe Folk Art Group of Chengduo County of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province; Thousand-Arm Avalokitesvara by The Chinese Disabled Peoples' Troupe of Arts; and "Manas" experts by the Singing and Dancing Group of Wuqia County. Two of these groups were from the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center. I was one of the presenters for the conference and had been selected for two presentations: a workshop on Children's Music and Literature and a paper on innovation in teaching choral conducting. In addition to attending papers and sessions on best practices in music teaching, I also enjoyed plenary sessions about the Music Village complex being built in Beijing by 2020, as well as visiting historical sites such as the Olympic Green, the Bird's Nest, a tea house, and The Temple of Heaven.
I was overwhelmed with warmth and hospitality during my visit to Shanghai! Our colleagues in Shanghai provided opportunities to make presentations to music teachers in the Minhang District, to speak to graduate students of Shanghai Normal University, and also to reunite with several former visiting government scholars. Approximately 125 Shanghai music teachers attended the presentation on the best practices in music education and teacher certification in the United States; a conducting workshop with 70 members of the Music Teacher Chorus of Shanghai on the performance of western, polyphonic music of Palestrina; and special meetings with the other teacher supervisors and executives of Minhang District. I also spoke about best practices in music teacher education for the graduate music students of SHNU. Yolanda (Yue Zhu) Education Superintendent of Minhang District (former Shanghai Government Scholar at CSUN), Lily Shi, Music Teacher Supervisor of Minhang District, and Associate Dean John (Zhong) Shi of Shanghai Normal University (former Visiting Scholar at CSUN, and also husband of Lily Shi), coordinated the presentations, as well as accommodations, a VIP visit to the World Expo 2010 (specially arranged by Yolanda and her husband, Vice-President of Minhang Hospital and orthopedic surgeon), and many lunches and dinners to reunite with former scholars. Zhang Kangping (Mayor of Peng Du), hosted a lunch with two other Shanghai Government Scholars, Zhu Yi (Chairwoman, Youth Federation of Minhang District) and Wang Zhaohui (Vice President, Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court), and escorted me through the newly-built, four-storied, multi-functioned Community Center, where I sang "Old MacDonald" with children studying English! Two of Mr. Zhang's assistants also led me through an older part of the city where artisans live and work. Lu Hengjiong (Deputy Director, Xuhui District Government) hosted a dinner with a government colleague, and I also had a wonderful lunch with Lu Xuecheng (Division Director, Construction and Transportation Committee of Shanghai Pudong New Area), Lu Yaodong (Director, Command Center of Shanghai Public Security Bureau), and Wang Jing (Deputy Director, Regional Land and Planning Bureau of Baoshan District Government). Faye Gu, also a former CSUN Visiting Scholar, was available for translating at most of these meals, as well as helping to get me to the airport with John and Lily Shi. I was filled with joy by the good fortune to meet again with so many of the scholars from recent years and to see how well they were doing. What a wonderful experience!