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Beijing Olympics' theme song makes Oct. 1 playlist
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You and Me, the theme song of last year's Beijing Olympic Games, will be one of 43 tunes played during the National Day celebrations.

Around 1,500 performers from across China have been selected for a special band to perform music for the military parade and a mass pageant on Oct 1, said band director Yu Hai.

"The number of songs will be the highest for such a celebration," he said. Just 35 songs were played during the 50th anniversary in 1999.

The National Day parade and pageant are always accompanied by a military band to perform traditional tunes, including the national anthem, the song of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), and the Parade March.

This year's playlist, however, has been updated to include the Beijing Games theme and the pop song Red Flag Flying, said Yu.

He said 19 tunes would be played during the parade and 24 during the pageant, interspersed with recordings of former leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, and the current President Hu Jintao.

A chorus of 2,500 students from Beijing colleges and a folk music group made up of 200 people will also join the military band for the pageant.

The idea to establish a large military band of at least 1,000 musicians for National Day came from Mao Zedong in 1950, said Yu.

This year's band will be the largest in history, with members selected from 46 bands, including 1,300 players and 29 conductors. Among the players, the eldest is 50 and the youngest is just 16.

"This band brings together the best players in the PLA," said Yu, who enlisted 30 years ago. This year's band was officially set up on March 26 and all participants gathered in Beijing on July 1 for three months of intensive training. The band will be first group to enter Tian'anmen Square and the last to leave it on Oct 1, said Yu, who added: "That means our players must stand for at least three hours and play for more than two hours without a break."

He explained that the national anthem must be played at 96 beats per minute for the raising of the Chinese flag, while tunes for the parade and pageant must hit 116 beats per minute.

"It's such a honor to be part of the National Day celebrations," said Huo Maohua, a percussionist from the Guangzhou Military Area, who has been one of the performers practicing 10 hours a day. "I'm suffering but also happy."

Rehearsal planned

The second rehearsal of the grand celebrations ran from midnight until 3 am September 7 morning, said the 60th National Day Celebration Preparation Committee of Beijing municipal government.

The rehearsal was delayed for 24 hours due to rain on Saturday night.

Motorists were notified to avoid roads around Tian'anmen Square as there could be traffic control.

Meanwhile, China will launch a project joined by seven municipalities, provinces and an autonomous region to build a security "moat" to keep its capital city safe during the celebrations.

Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Liaoning and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region have signed an agreement on the project, Chen Jiping, deputy director of the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, said yesterday.

According to the agreement, the authorities of these municipalities, provinces and regions will also conduct security checks on roads to Beijing to fence off the potential threats. The neighboring provinces will work out a system to tackle discord on their home. Police will cooperate to contain crimes crossing provincial borders.

The agreement also said that the governments will tighten control over dangerous objects and better regulate the flow of the migrant population.

(China Daily September 8, 2009)

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