Lifestyles and Repertoires of the Qiaotou Eastern Farmers’ Symphonic Wind Orchestra of Yongjia County, Zhejiang Province, the People’s Republic of China
The Qiaotou Eastern Farmers’ Symphonic Wind Orchestra is a “concert band,” a Western wind and percussion ensemble, established in Yongjia County, Zhejiang Province in the People’s Republic of China. The band was founded by Commander Ye Guangming in 1975. The Orchestra performs concert works from this era. The Orchestra additionally provides services for funerals and family venerations, performing Chinese dirges. After China’s Opening to the Outside World in 1980, Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province became the largest urban Christian center in China, becoming popularly known as “China’s Jerusalem” (Zhongguo de Yelusaleng). By providing funeral music for the Christian clients of Yongjia and Wenzhou, the Orchestra developed a repertoire of Christian hymns, mainly of Western origins, but also indigenous Chinese hymns. The author of the article, an American trumpet player, collected ethnomusicological materials in Qiaotou in the early winter of 2020, when he was appointed as a visiting professor of ethnomusicology at Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. While in Qiaotou, the author performed a number of songs with the Orchestra, himself being a specialist in Chinese brass and wind bands and having published a number of articles on the subject.