(Minghui.org) For the 10th time, the Falun Gong Divine Land Marching Band, the only Chinese marching band among over 100 entries, performed in the 239th Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC.

Dressed in traditional Chinese costumes, the band members played “Falun Dafa is Good,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and other selections to the applause of the spectators on either side of Constitution Avenue.

The Divine Land Marching Band's 10th appearance in DC's Independence Day Parade

Tourists: The Band Is Superb!

Jim Hogan from Chicago was in DC visiting his daughter. It was the first time for him to see a 4th of July parade in Washington. “This band [the Divine Land Marching Band] is superb. It's great to have it here for such a major event.” He was glad to see so many diverse groups in the parade: “This reflects the spirit of the United States.”

Because information is so accessible in the US, Hogan said, “More people will find out about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. And they will work to improve the situation.”

Elizabeth from Texas and Marie from New Jersey were also impressed. “Their music is really awesome,” said Elizabeth. Marie was especially moved by “Stars and Stripes Forever:” “I can tell the performers are very talented. Their music is unique and so touching.”

Jenny from Pennsylvania was glad to see Falun Gong practitioners in the parade, saying, “Everyone has the right to practice his or her own belief.”

Like many other Chinese watching the parade, Bi, a Chinese student, took many pictures of the Divine Land Marching Band. “Falun Gong is well respected here. It is quite different from the situation in China,” she said.

Spectators watching the parade on both sides of Constitution Avenue

Band Member: “Playing from Our Hearts”

The Divine Land Marching Band is made up of Falun Gong practitioners from all walks of life, including physicians, businessmen and women, software developers, executives, government officials, and students.

Noriko, a student majoring in music at Brooklyn College (part of the City University of New York [CUNY]), plays piccolo in the band. “There are quite a few fast notes in 'Stars and Stripes Forever.' And a piccolo solo. It required quick fingering. It also requires great skill to play the bass well.” She said some band members worked so hard during practice that they had blisters on their lips.

“Good technique is only part of it,” she went on to explain. “It is even more challenging to comprehend the inner meaning of the music and convey it to the audience.”

That means lots of practice and “playing from our hearts.” As a Falun Gong practitioner, she found that pure and righteous thoughts helped her to understand the music and get it across to the audience.

French horn player Yanyan and her family joined the band when it started 10 years ago. They practice their instruments almost every day.

“We drove to Washington, D.C. to perform here again because this is important for us—and for everyone that comes to this parade,” she said. “Falun Gong and its principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance have brought great benefits to us practitioners and to the world. We sincerely hope more people will be blessed by it.”