China's first grand military band festival began on Thursday in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, capturing attention both at home and abroad.
The event, known as the "2006 China Nanchang Military Band Festival", attracted China's four top-level military bands including the Chinese People's Liberation Army Band and two world renowned bands from Russia and Britain.
Alexander Mikhaylov, the conductor of the Russian Frontier Guards Band, told Xinhua that his band received an invitation to the festival about a year ago and had prepared well for the event.
"It's our honor to perform at the birthplace of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). We will present more than 20 songs to our Chinese friends this time," Mikhaylov said.
Sgt. Johnston, from the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Pipe and Drum Band, said that his band regarded their attendance as an honor, and added that it is a fabulous opportunity to showcase traditional Scottish kilts and bagpipe music for Chinese audiences.
An official with the organizing committee said the three-day festival was being held to mark the city's pride in being the PLA's birthplace.
The festival will also include a military music parade, public performances, indoor marching performances and a military band artistic forum, said the official.
(Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2006)