The University of Washington’s Husky Marching Band will perform in China this month in what is believed to be that ancient civilization’s first exposure to an American collegiate tradition.
Chinese crowds accustomed to military bands playing patriotic standards in a slow-moving block will be treated to the 64-piece Husky Band melting in and out of kaleidoscopic formations while belting out “Tequila” and “Louie, Louie.”
“We’ll get a really surprised audience, I think,” said bandleader Brad McDavid, who will lead the June 24-July 5 tour.
In a time of strained Sino-American relations, McDavid said he was advised to eschew overtly patriotic material. That still leaves plenty of rousing possibilities, including “Boogie Fever,” “You Can Call Me Al,” “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” and the Husky fight song.
“They’re intrigued by our pop and movie music,” said McDavid. “We want to give them a good dose of Americana.”
The band’s main outdoor exhibition will take place at 6 p.m. on June 28 at Beijing University, where 60 yards of a quadrangle called “The Meadows” will be marked off for the band — not a full American football field, but enough to make an impression.
“This is something really special for our kids,” said McDavid, whose 104-member delegation to China will include parents and alumni. Most participants are covering the $2,098 cost of the tour themselves.
In addition to the Beijing outdoor exhibition, the band is scheduled to play indoor concerts in Shanghai, at Jiao Tong University on June 30 and at the Memorial Monument at the Bund on July 1. Arrangements are being made to share the stage with Chinese ensembles.
Before leaving, the band will hold Seattle-area practices on June 10 and June 23. Both rehearsals will be from 2-5 p.m. at the Shoreline Conference Center Stadium, North 185th Street and First Avenue Northeast.
The Husky Marching Band dates to 1901. It is perhaps most famous for creating “The Wave,” when at a Homecoming game against Stanford, Yell King Robb Weller originated what has gone on to become a global fan phenomenon.
The band also cheered on this year’s Rose Bowl-winning Husky football squad.
For more information before June 24, contact McDavid at (206) 543-7383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In China, contact McDavid:
– June 25-29 at the Taiwan Hotel in central Beijing, 011-86-10-6513-6538/fax 011-86-10-6513-6896.
– June 30-July 4 at the Shanghai Hotel in Shanghai, 011-86-21-6248-0088/fax 011-86-21-6248-1310, email@example.com