Reporters on the Job

Attuned: Nothing about Bob Marquand's story on music in China (page 1) turned out the way he thought it would. Bob wanted to look at music in Shanghai partly because of a 1980 documentary: "From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China." A look at a relationship between a famous conservatory and symphony didn't work. He couldn't get enough material on child orchestras in Shanghai, nor on child prodigies in China.

But what stood out clearly, Bob says, is that the piano has become a hugely popular instrument among people who never played it before.

Bob says his walk into the Shanghai Conservatory - a 17-story, very narrow building - was most insightful. He arrived on final-exam day, and sat in a very old, mildewy auditorium. He watched for an hour as a stream of woodwind and brass musicians came in to play. "It was just this splendid concert, completely unanticipated," Bob says.

"One of the delights was listening to a young Chinese woman playing Ravel and Debussy - French composers whom I always considered aesthetes," Bob says. "The young Chinese woman played with such passion, such soul, that I could see a whole new dimension in the artists."

Cameron the courier: To report today's story on Israeli and Palestinian perceptions of the cease-fire (page 1), the Monitor's Cameron Barr went to see the acting mayor of Beit Jala, Degaulle Hodari. Mr. Hodari credited both sides for holding to the cease-fire, but complained about the Israelis' enduring "closure" of the Palestinian territories.

As a result, he said, he couldn't visit the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem to apply for a visa, and asked if Cameron wouldn't mind taking the passport to the consulate on his behalf. Cameron agreed to play courier.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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