Augustana Band to Depart on Fifth Concert Tour of China

On Sunday, Jan. 6, the Augustana Band, led by Dr. Christopher Unger, will embark on a 19-day concert and study tour of China. More than 40 students will make the journey to perform and participate in a course about Chinese culture and history designed and taught by Dr. John Pennington, professor and former chair of the music department. Brad Heegel, Director of Development for the Performing and Visual Arts coordinates the group and serves as the Tour Manager.

The tour will take Augustana students to prestigious venues, including the Hubei Theatre in Wuhan, the world-famous Shanghai Jiaotong University, the Xian Concert Hall, and journeying to beautiful sites such as the Forbidden City, Great Wall and Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses. The group will spend four nights on a Yangtze River Cruise between the cities of Yichang and Chongqing.

The Augustana Band is recognized as one of the finest collegiate concert organizations in the Midwest. The band has performed in the finest concert halls including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and appeared before state, regional and national music educators' gatherings.

The band typically tours during the January Interim break, and beginning with the 1998-99 academic year, has made it a practice to travel overseas during the January interim once every four years. Their previous tours to China were in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. In 2019, the band returns to the fascinating People's Republic of China for the fifth time.

During its 2015 tour, the band performed to sold-out audiences in China's most significant concert and music halls. The band explored the culture and history of Egypt during a 22-day tour in January 2011.

The band will perform a blend of musical styles in both American concert band music and Chinese selections including “Steampunk Suite” by Erika Svanoe, “March Intercollegiate” by Charles Ives, Johan de Meij’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “Spring Festival Overture” by Li Huanzhi.

Dr. Unger is in his fourth year at Augustana. He received his D.M.A in conducting from the Eastman School of Music in 2013. Dr. Unger won the American Prize in Conducting in the Wind Ensemble Division in that year and has professional affiliations with the College Band Directors National Association, the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, and the Conductor’s Guild.

Katie LeBrun
Public Relations and Communications Strategist