CCM Director of Orchestra Studies Mark Gibson and four musical theatre students are taking a whirlwind trip to China to perform with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra at the Xinghai Concert Hall on Valentine’s Day.

Students Michelle Coben, David Paul Schwensen, Emily Morris and Zach Erhardt will head to China with Gibson on Friday, Feb. 10. They will rehearse over the weekend and present the program, “A Valentine to New York,” on Tuesday, Feb. 14.


Michelle Coben.


David Paul Schwensen.


Emily Morris.


Zach Erhardt.





The program includes excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls and How to Success In Business Without Really Trying and Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate. The concert will also feature George Gershwin’s Overture to Girl Crazy and Jule Styne’s Overture to Gypsy. 

“This will be a first for the GSO, a first for CCM as a school, a first for each of the gifted students involved and, frankly, a first for me — my very first all-Broadway concert,” Gibson says.

The trip began with an invitation from CCM alumna Huan Jing (MM Orchestral Conducting, 2010), who studied under Gibson and was also a visiting faculty member at CCM. Jing is the resident conductor of the prestigious Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, the only Chinese orchestra to tour and perform on five continents.

“The Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra is one of the half-dozen top orchestras in China,” Gibson says.  “Huan Jing is not the only CCM alumna in the orchestra. CCM alumna Nicole Leong is the GSO’s new principal harpist, making this a true family affair!”

CCM Musical Theatre professor Roger Grodsky prepared the students for the concert with assistance from Luke Flood, a master’s of music student in Orchestral Conducting. Gibson and the students will return to Cincinnati on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

“We are going to rock Guangzhou!” Gibson says. “Thanks to Huan Jing, Roger Grodsky, Aubrey Berg, Interim Provost Peter Landgren, Interim Dean bruce mcclung, Patti Hall and many more for making this all possible!

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