Retired Chinese Workers, Musical Education, and Participant-Observation in The Beijing Sunshine Wind Band Art Troupe

Keywords: China, Beijing, Retirement, Recreation, Music Education, Wind Band, Concert Band, Brass Band, Military Band, National Music, Participant-Observation, Ethnomusicology.


The Beijing Sunshine Wind Band performs
in community concerts in Beijing year round.
The band began in 2007, founded by Lin Yi
and her husband Zhao Yinglin. Lin Yi underwent
cancer surgery in 1995 and recovered to form
the band of around 100 retirees. Members
begin musical training in retirement,
and as adult learners practice hours gaining
musical proficiency. The music is Chinese
and in jianpu numerical notation, but all
of their instruments are Western woodwinds,
brass, and percussion. The band performs
at national events, museums and libraries,
and toured Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong,
and Macau.
Concert bands are civilian versions
of military bands. Their marches include
“The People’s Liberation Army March,”
and lyrical songs such as “My Country”
from a 1956 film. Their performances draw
revolutionary sentiments in suites such
as The Red Detachment of Women,
and the band performs songs from post-Mao
decades, such as “Dare to Ask the Way,” from
the television series Journey to the West.
Trevor Herbert stated that concert bands serve
communities as “rational recreation.” The goal
of this article is show how a Chinese national
concert band reached and created healthy
lifestyles for retired workers recovering from
cancer and other disabilities.

Folklore and National Culture