My friend Yang Wei called me from Taiwan one Saturday morning in May. “If I can arrange a couple of concerts would you come to Taiwan?” he asked.
Saying yes was never in question. There was no way I’d turn down a chance to perform with a friend. Taiwan promised a new adventure – new country, new language, new people to meet, new music to learn – and I was able to share it with my wife, Tracie.
I love performing for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly it exposes me to people and experiences outside of my daily routine.
Yang Wei and I performed two concerts in the Taichung area. The first was at the Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden. As I warmed up, it struck me that I was, perhaps, the only old-time banjo player ever to play on that centuries-old stage. That was humbling. The second concert was at the Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House.
From our first day in Taiwan to our last, I encountered acceptance and inclusion. My Chinese is terrible to say the least. But everyone I met – from the curator of the Wufeng Lin Family Mansion, to Facebook friends I had only “known” online, to our hostess and benefactor Fei Lee, and of course Yang Wei – made sure that Tracie and I were welcomed and included in everything. The audiences were kind and open to the music we presented. I feel such gratitude. My life has been so changed and enriched by every one of the amazing people we met.