For pictures, click here.
Vietnam: a country of contrasts, a country of beauty! We have just returned from
one of the most eventful tours in the history of the IHS World Orchestra.
Although the flora and fauna of this country is impressive, it is the people which
exemplify the richness of Vietnam the best. People, who for the most part are not
wealthy, yet who alway have a ready smile and a kind greeting for a visitor or
We began our tour in Ha noi where we stayed in a hotel on West Lake. The
Hanoi Club Hotel was kind enough to give us the use of a ballroom for rehearsal
and for a concert. From here we launched into various forays into the city. We
had the privilege of a concert in ‘Le Cabaret’, a club for Ha noi VIPs, operated by
Mr. Son. Our orchestra was wined and dined before our concert by the motivated
staff of the club. Many thanks to Mr. Son and his team.
While in Ha noi we also performed in a registered State church and the coffee
house and gardens of an agricultural University just outside the city. Highlights
were also a tour through the busy market streets and a ride around the lake in a
fleet of electric cars looking like oversize golf carts.
From Ha noi we flew to Da Nang on the gorgeous East coast of Vietnam. Although
we were pelted with high winds and rain while there, the Christmas concert with
the owner and staff of the Blue Sun hotel left a lasting impression upon us. While
in Da Nang we held a concert at the Fresco Cafe downtown where we met
interested visitors from around Asia, including Singapore. It was a great night
with an enthusiastic audience.
After 2 days in Da Nang we continued our tour in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). I
must say that the staff of Vietnam Airlines treated us so well on every flight and
periodically turned a blind eye to extra weight or oversize instruments on board.
Travelling with a group of 21 people can be a logistic nightmare, but they helped
us through it and check-in was always done with care and professionalism!
Were we surprised to find out our first concert in Ho Chi Minh City was at a
lingerie and underwear factory. Playing in the factory store amongst this type of
attire was definitely a first for us. The lady owner gave her workers and staff
time off to visit the concert in the store which had been set up with many chairs
and a PA system. It was a wonderful time! On leaving we were all presented with
a gift of various articles of clothing produced on the facilities.
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest center in Vietnam. It’s population is estimated at
approximately 8 million people. The amazing thing in this city is the sea of
motor scooters which swim in an out of traffic like large schools of fish. It is like
observing art in motion.
The administration and staff of the FV Hospital welcomed us for a concert in
their lobby. It brought us joy to lift the spirits of staff and patients alike with our
music. An evening playing at the Fresco Coffee House downtown Ho Chi Minh
culminated an interesting day for us.
After a day of visiting ‘the must’ see attractions in the city, we performed a
concert with the local chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship
International at the Sun Land Hotel.
A little outside our usual ‘intimate’ concert settings was our concert for an
estimated crowd of over 4000 in a small stadium in the center of the city. Our
time there was limited because we were the special guests at the villa of Miss
Vietnam immediately after. She was throwing an extravagant Christmas party for
VIPs and the celebrity elite of Ho Chi Minh. An evening of fun, good food, music
and the Christmas message saw our tour come to a close.
I want to personally thank again all of those who extended invitations to us. To
all those who opened up their hearts to us and helped make this Vietnam Tour
2016 an absolute highlight in the lives of all who were privileged to be a part of
it. We’ll be back!!