GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gov. Linda Lingle greeted members of the Pearl City High School marching band yesterday. They told Lingle what they learned on a recent trip to China and gave her a book about the Great Wall of China and photographs of the band during their visit. Here, the governor shakes the hand of band member Reinier Kraan-Pilor. CLICK FOR LARGE
Pearl City band brings China memories home
Charger students tell Gov. Lingle about their adventures
Smog blocking out the sky, hawkers chasing after their tour bus, and bottled water to brush their teeth were the images that Pearl City High School students brought home from their band performances in China.
On July 18 the Chargers marching band returned from a 10-day trip to China, where they performed in the Beijing Olympic International Youth Festival, including an appearance on the Great Wall. They talked about their memories with Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday.
Dressed in the purple-and-white uniforms they wore in China, 11 students presented Lingle with a book about the Great Wall and two photos of the band on the Wall.
Lingle, who had visited China in 2005 as part of an economic mission, talked with the students for about a half-hour.
They carried a large responsibility in China, Lingle told them.
"How they judge you is how they judge all of us in Hawaii -- I'm sure you did a magnificent job," Lingle said. "It's something that you can use as a point of reference ... of the things we take for granted."
As one of two bands from the United States, Pearl City took about 250 adults and band members to China. There were about 115 band members and a hula halau. The other band was from Palm Springs High School in Palm Springs, Calif.
Lingle told the students that she is planning to visit China again later this fall.
Russell Pang, the governor's spokesman, said the trip will build on the momentum of the previous China trade mission.
"The details are being planned," he said, declining to elaborate.
Band parent Kari Bailey said the trip taught the students to adjust to new cultures, such as old-fashioned squat toilets that were holes in the ground, requiring them to throw the toilet paper into a basket.
"We were plugging toilets," she said, until they learned to throw the paper in the basket.
Samantha Gushiken's favorite part was the mass band, where about 15 students from the Pearl City band joined about 20 international bands on the Great Wall to perform the "Olympic Fanfare."