University Singers consider China trip a prideful experience

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University Singers consider China trip a prideful experience

University Singers at the Great Wall of China
Northwestern Oklahoma State University students stop at the Great Wall of China for an impromptu performance. 

Twenty-four Northwestern Oklahoma State University students recently embarked on a singing tour landing in China for eight-days. The University Singers experienced the Chinese way of life and returned home with a sense of pride for their university and community.

Performing for audiences with more than 1,000 people really amazed the students. Riley Wiebener, Alva junior, thought that more than anything it gave her a really big sense of pride for the choir and for the university.

“All of those people—every single one of them—came to see us,” Wiebener said. “It was just like, wow. It was just really amazing to see every single one of those faces out there so excited just to watch you.”

Preparing for the China trip meant that students would need to rehearse more, which usually included additional rehearsals on Sunday evenings in corporated with the normal weekly scheduled rehearsals.

Additional preparation was needed in order to understand the Chinese culture. Dr. Irene Messoloras, Department of Fine Arts chair, called on her colleague Dr. Wei Zhou, assistant professor of business, who originally is from Beijing, to help the students understand the do’s and don’ts while in China.

“We covered everything from elevator etiquette to eating with chopsticks,” Wiebener said.

After full preparation, these students were ready to begin their journey touring and performing in Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou.

Northwestern students visited the Great Wall, the Jade Museum, the 2008 Olympic Games Stadium, Tiananmen Square and Yuyuan Garden. They toured a tea village and were involved in the silk making process.

Many students put on a brave face and tried eating new foods – foods that would not be a chosen delicacy as an American. From scorpions and starfish, to silkworms and grasshoppers, Northwestern students truly embraced the Chinese culture.

The University Singers were joined by students from different Chinese universities where all the students interacted and performed together. Northwestern students collaborated with Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiatong University as part of an educational endeavor.

“Performing in a huge hall was a challenge,” said Dalton Lamberth, Sharon senior. “But performing for more than 1,000 people, who were all there to see us, was interesting.”

Josh Faulkner, Hooker junior, said that it was standing room only during the first concert.

“Because of all those extra rehearsals and all of our normal rehearsals, it really set us up for success in China and being in front of that big of a crowd,” Faulkner said.

In China, Northwestern students were almost like celebrities. There were huge posters marking their arrival and performances. Wiebener said they were billboard size.

“To see all these big posters, it was like whoa, we are celebrities now,” Faulkner said.

“We were always prideful of the school,” Lamberth said. “After returning home from the trip, we are now figuring out our potential of how awesome we can be.”

Students who traveled to China are: Maggie Linville, Beaver freshman; Alex Skinner, Burkburnett (Texas) freshman; Riley Wiebener, Alva sophomore; Naicee Gugelmeyer, Kiowa (Kan.) freshman; Dagan James, Boise City freshman; Shayna Hamilton, Arnett freshman; Shanae Joachims, Alva sophomore; Lauren Turner, Woodward sophomore; Rachel Lugendo, Lewisville (Texas) freshman; Latasha Thrash, Alva sophomore; Sara Acosta, Woodward senior; Kenneith McIntosh, Del City freshman; Dalton Lamberth, Sharon junior; Isi Ofiu, Alva freshman; Jorge Romero, Laverne freshman; Drew Faulkner, Hooker freshman; Aaron Ford, Cheyenne sophomore; Josh Faulkner, Hooker junior; Scott Bartley, Enid sophomore; Michael Brown, Watonga freshman, Jordon Little, Greensburg (Kan.) freshman; Keyton Byrd, Alva freshman, Hanson Long, Waynoka sophomore; Dustin Cox, Texhoma sophomore; Morgan Biaggi, Dalhart (Texas) freshman; Tyson Joachims, Alva senior; Erin Hopkins, Fairview freshman; Daniel Cano, Hooker freshman; and Shelby Carpenter, Alva sophomore.
University Singers are made up of music majors and non-music majors, representing all walks of campus life ranging from nursing, business and education students, to theater, English, communications students and more.

For more information about Northwestern’s music program, contact Messoloras at (580) 327-8692 or More information can be gathered by visiting