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USC band bangs the drums in Shanghai

Musicians provide fanfare for overseas store

by Brett Padelford
Members of the USC Trojan Marching Band drumline perform in Shanghai. (Photo/courtesy of USC Alumni Club of Shanghai)
Members of the USC Trojan Marching Band drumline perform in Shanghai. (Photo/courtesy of USC Alumni Club of Shanghai)

Spreading cardinal and gold spirit across the Pacific, the USC Trojan Marching Band drumline performed during the grand opening celebration of the Old Navy flagship store in China on March 1.

Located on Shanghai’s Nanjing West Road, the apparel retailer opened with much fanfare as Trojan drummers underscored the ribbon cutting ceremony attended by local dignitaries and corporate representatives.

Old Navy, owned by Gap Inc., opted for the USC musicians because of their Southern California origin and the international reputation of band leader Arthur Bartner.

“Being an American company, Old Navy wanted to bring a distinctive element of American pop culture to Shanghai for the store opening. And nothing’s more American than a marching band, specifically the drumline,” Bartner said.

“It was the experience of a lifetime for the drumline,” he added. “And, as always, it was great to meet some of our worldwide Trojans from the Alumni Club of Shanghai.”

In other festivities, the drumline performed at popular landmarks throughout the city, including Xintiandi Plaza, People’s Square and The Bund. 

The day before, the USC students took part in a cultural exchange with drummers from Shanghai University.

The American musicians worked with their Chinese counterparts on drumming skills, teaching them the technique of U.S. marching bands. In turn, the Trojans experienced Chinese culture with authentic dinners and a tour of the city provided by Old Navy.

In 2003 and 2004, the band performed at the International Chinese New Year’s Parade in Hong Kong. Later in 2004, the band toured Shanghai, Xian and Beijing, a trip highlighted by a performance on the Great Wall of China.

The band also performed at two world expositions in East Asia: Expo 2005 in Japan and Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

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