One-time China parks trip
Master Players Series offers one-time trip featuring China's national parks
1:31 p.m., Jan. 16, 2014--The University of Delaware’s Master Players Concert Series (MPCS) is offering a one-time special trip to China from June 1-13 with Xiang Gao, MPCS artistic director and Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music.
This trip is designed by Gao specifically for the friends, alumni, faculty and staff of UD who have the desire to see the unique landscapes and spectacular natural scenery of China and to experience the culture and history of that nation’s ethnic minority groups.
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The trip is a personalized VIP tour for a small group of 24 people and the deadline for applications is Feb. 20.
Under the direction of Gao, an experienced bilingual and bicultural China trip volunteer director who is originally from China, the 13-day tour will visit China’s most beautiful and culturally colorful national parks and cities.
Tour stops will include Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong, Guilin, and a cruise trip on the Yangtze River to see the Three Gorges of China. Prospective participants should note that, pending weather conditions, the Three Gorges part of the trip could be replaced by a trip to visit LiJiang, YunNan Province, which is a “world heritage region” officially recognized by UNESCO.
While visiting these breathtaking destinations, participants will experience the diverse history, culture, cuisine and music of China’s minority groups.
The success of the similar China trips created and directed by Gao in the past seven summers was not due simply to the aforementioned world-famous sites seen by the group but also to the highly educational element and cross-cultural experience provided by the volunteer director.
“This is a personalized VIP tour I designed for the alumni, friends and employees at the University of Delaware,” Gao said. “The year 2014 marks the 35th anniversary of the normalized Sino-U.S. relations, and I cannot think of a better way to donate my time as a cultural ambassador and volunteer trip director to promote cultural exchange and understanding between the people of the two great nations.
“I will try my best to make this trip the most wonderful way to visit China for all people who are connected to our great University and the largest concert-presenting organization in the tri-state area, UD’s Master Players Concert Series.”
The participants will learn about the Chinese people as well as their lives, history, philosophy, religion and society with Gao. The cuisne in China will be another highlight of the trip, as the menus of almost every meal for all of his China trips has been selected personally by Gao, who refuses to serve the participants tourist food provided by travel agents.
The China trips under Gao’s direction have benefited tremendously in the non-English speaking country from the fact that he is a native of China, which allows him to provide special insights to the tour group.
“Because I am both bilingual and bicultural, I know what is most valuable to the travelers,” Gao said. “Plus I have directed UD’s study abroad China program seven times and the alumni China trip seven times, so I am proud to be able to make the trip a better experience for our friends than any travel agent can provide. In addition, for national parks, I am happy to be familiar with the environment and the physical needs of the cross-generational travelers. I myself have visited these locations multiple times as a devoted hiker and explorer of nature and minority culture, and I will make sure everyone can have the same experience, whether you are into hiking or not, as I am making accommodations for travelers of all age groups to visit the national parks and cities according to their own physical capability.”
Gao added, “This is my way to say thank you to the University of Delaware for the endless support I have received on campus and to the very supportive concert audience of the UD Master Players Concert Series, which is now expanding in presentation, education and creation starting in the 2014-15 season.”
Gao noted that China “is as large as a continent, and many people who have traveled with me during what I call the ‘regular’ -- and very popular -- alumni and friends China trip in late June during the past seven years have seen only a small part of it. They have asked me to lead another trip so they can see other parts of China. At this time MPCS is expanding, so I have decided to offer this one-time trip to help MPCS to make more friends, and more importantly, to continue my mission of bringing more American friends to my native country, not only to see the majority culture and history of China, but also to enjoy mother nature’s masterpieces and the 5,000 years of minority culture of the Middle Kingdom.”
The trip’s tentative departure date is June 1, and an early reservation is highly recommended as space is very limited. A deposit of $400 with each reservation must be received by Feb. 20. One can download reservation and visa forms from the trip website and for any other questions, email Gao at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born and raised in Beijing, Gao came to the United States to study at the University of Michigan and after graduation came to teach at the University of Delaware.
While teaching in Newark, Gao maintains an international concert career as one of the world's top concert violinists from China. Most recently, he became the first Chinese violinist with an endowed professorship in the U.S.
For more information on Gao's music career, see the website.
For information on Gao's upcoming concerts in the area and the Master Players Concert Series, visit the MPCS website or call the general manager Tamara Smith at 302-831-2850.
2014 UD alumni and friends trip
The very popular “regular” UD alumni and friends China trip to visit the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Xi’An will repeat in mid-June for the eighth time.
The 2014 trip brochure, with itinerary and application forms, is posted on the Office of Alumni Relations website. The deadline for application for the regular trip was Feb. 1.