Earlier this year, Mr Meredith was asked by an old friend if he'd like to travel to Beijing for a once in a lifetime opportunity, to conduct an orchestra made up of 84 pupils from various schools all over Asia! Never one to turn down a challenge, Mr Meredith was boarding a plane a few months later, full of excitement and ready to explore a new country.
Although he didn't fly out until November, the six orchestras from schools including Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea, have been learning the music since he sent the music back in June. The piece Mr Meredith chose for the orchestra to perform was 'At the Castle Gate' by Sibelius, the theme tune for BBC programme 'The Sky at Night'.
Explaining that jet-lag was his worst enemy whilst being away, Mr Meredith did have a day either side of his trip to explore Beijing. He visited The Great Wall of China, having been taken their by his personal driver (!), Mr Jim. Mr Jim had a great sense of humour, despite a sometimes awkward language barrier, and appeared to be rather protective of Mr Meredith when security wouldn't allow him into a building without ID!
Three days of rehearsals meant everyone could get used to performing together in the beautiful Concert Hall of the Forbidden City, which has a whopping capacity of 1400.
Mr Meredith had always wondered what it would be like to conduct a large orchestra, particularly given the joy he finds in making music and working with younger people, who weren't just in another country, but also didn't speak English! However, as Mr Meredith rightly pointed out, music is an international language and this resulted in a fantastic sound being produced by the orchestra. His message to the girls was to do something you want to do, even if it seems scary, challenge yourself and you'll feel great!
The assembly ended with a clip of the event, which was part of an orchestral festival linked to the Asian Pacific Activities Conference.
Mr Meredith is looking forward to his next challenge, and who knows, this time Beijing, next time, possibly, world domination!