(Minghui.org) Greetings benevolent Master! Greetings fellow practitioners!

Unforgettable Days

Master came to the San Francisco Bay Area to set up the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band in April 2006. When I recall that period of time, I feel very fortunate. At that time, I did not have any background in music nor did I know about the functions and characteristics of instruments. When I saw the countless big and small instruments that lined the floor, I thought that it might be easier to play the drum. There were so many criteria, such as the big drums stand in the first row, the sousaphones stand in the last row and they are all played by the male practitioners. The small drums were to be played only by female practitioners and their height and age must meet certain requirements, etc. 

I was too old to play the small drum, but I did not know what other instrument I could play. I thought that I knew nothing about wind instruments so no matter what instrument I took, I would have to learn from scratch. I decided to let the other practitioners choose their instruments first and I would play whatever instrument was left. After the New York Tian Guo Marching Band’s music teacher finished talking, everyone quickly picked their instrument. When I looked, none of the small instruments were left. There was only one baritone horn (a type of bass instrument) left, so I took up the baritone.

During the following month we practiced our instruments together every night. At that time, the conditions were very good. There were many empty rooms in our media company’s office building. So, every section had their own room to practice in. Most of the practitioners in the baritone section were elderly ladies who did not even know how to hold the instrument. No one could produce a sound and we were all quite anxious. What to do? We kept trying and we were finally able to make some sounds. 

While we were practicing one day Master entered with a smile. Master cordially asked how our practice was going and asked everyone play their baritone for him. Before Master came we were able to make some sounds but at that moment, no sound came out no matter how hard we tried. Master pointed at me and said, “You give it a try.” I got nervous and thus could not make any sound.

Master smiled, took my baritone and started playing it. After that, he explained the principles of how to play a wind instrument, such as how to use our air. Master told us that the baritone is the easiest type of instrument. This greatly increased our confidence in playing.

After he finished explaining, Master asked us play our instruments again. This time, I could play Do-Re-Mi-Fa. Master smiled and told me, “Why don’t you lead everyone to practice?”

Those unforgettable days are still fresh in my mind. The most touching moment was when everyone lined up to receive our caps from Master personally. I was really touched. An intense feeling of honor and sense of mission immediately rose in my heart. We are so lucky to have Master personally teach us how to play our instruments, and how to maintain them!

Master carefully went over and repaired the instruments. I remember that Master said that the symphonic band is also called the military band because it originated from the army. Every member of our band really cherished that period of time. No matter how far we lived from the practice venue, we joined the practice right after work.

With Master’s empowerment, through one month’s hard training, the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band, which was made up of nearly 200 Falun Dafa practitioners, made our debut during the 7th International Falun Dafa Day on May 13, 2006. The scene was really amazing. The band performed 2 songs: “Falun Dafa is Good” and “America the Beautiful.” The residents in San Francisco’s Chinatown saw a grand and majestic military band for the first time. Many bystanders said it was an amazing and uplifting experience. The music we produced seemed to have struck deep into their souls as we noticed that many people just stood watching with their mouths wide open. People came out of the shops and most gave us a thumbs up.

At that time, our band coordinator was a renowned veteran musician. He said that to be able to attain such a standard of performance after just one month of setting up the band was a miracle! This was because very few band members played an instrument and some did not even know how to read music. For normal people, it would be impossible to be able to attain such a standard within a month’s time. However, this miracle really happened.

Participating in Community Parades Throughout the Western U.S.

Along with participating in all sorts of big and small parades in San Francisco and the surrounding regions, we also traveled to participate in many parades such as the Los Angeles Christmas Parade, the Seattle Torch Festival Parade, the Portland Rose Festival Parade, the Vancouver Christmas Parade, the Calgary Stampede, etc.

I still remember when we first started. We always rented 2 big buses and many practitioners also drove their cars to ferry everyone to and fro. For every long journey, we took the overnight bus so that we could arrive at our destination early the next morning. The local practitioners prepared a hearty breakfast for us. After filling our stomachs and getting everything ready, we headed towards the parade grounds where thousands of spectators were awaiting. When we passed by the platform, the emcee introduced us: “Welcome the Tian Guo Marching Band. They came all the way from San Francisco. They have also been participated in the Los Angeles Christmas Parade, the Seattle Torch Festival Parade, the Portland Rose Festival Parade, the Vancouver Christmas Parade, the Calgary Stampede, etc.” The audience gave roaring applause and the band members displayed their best form to bring the goodness of Falun Dafa to local residents.

Once the parade ended, we boarded the bus and traveled overnight. Everyone talked excitedly about their experience while participating in the parade. Seeing the bright smiles on spectators’ faces as they gave thumbs up, we felt their joy. Every time when I see the trophies that were placed in the cupboards along the band room walls, there is really a feeling of honor to be able to be a member of the band. Thank you Master! 

Every parade the band participates in is due to Master’s benevolent empowerment. The banner that we carry is “Falun Dafa” and we bring the goodness of Falun Dafa to people through our performances. Everywhere where we perform, people cheer us with big smiles and we are also be moved to tears. Thank you, Master, for your vast benevolence and mighty grace. Everyone has earnestly been waiting for the moment to be saved by Dafa, yearning for the Creator’s call.

Once, when I was clarifying the truth in Stanford, I met an elderly man who came to the U.S. to visit his relatives. As we talked, he said that the media in China no longer mentioned Falun Dafa. Therefore, he thought that Falun Dafa already disappeared in China and that no one outside China practiced. However, that July 4th he watched the Redwood City National Day parade. Not only did he see Falun Dafa’s parade group, the group was so strong and big. There were many sections such as the group that demonstrates the exercises, the waist drum team, the floats and there was even a marching band! He was really shocked and all that he saw was the goodness of Falun Dafa. He said that the parade had a great impact on him. Therefore, he wanted to really understand what Falun Dafa was all about.


We went through a rough period. We had yet to understand quarter notes and full notes, but we needed to start reading the music scores. Those “bean sprouts” (music notes) made the music scores look like Heavenly books and I could not understand them. At that time, we also did not have a fixed practice site. Today it could be here, tomorrow it could be there. Sometimes we practiced in the park. Gradually, fewer people showed up to practice. Many band members also worked in the media or other projects so everyone’s time was very tight. Many members felt that we could make it by just knowing how to play a few songs so there was no need to come for rehearsal. One day less than 20 members showed up. I felt very sad. I thought, “If even some of us still persisted, it was fine. We definitely cannot let the band that Master set up disband like this.”

When I heard one practitioner talk about how the New York Tian Guo Marching Band practices their instruments in the winter I was in awe. It’s cold and snowy in New York in the winter. Because practitioners were worried about disturbing their neighbors, they went to parks to practice. One practitioner said that while she was playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” in the park, an American was moved to tears by this elderly Chinese lady playing the U.S. National Anthem. He felt this was really amazing.

On the path of cultivation, there are also times when my spirits are low. Every time I meet all sorts of problems and tribulations, I recall Master’s  The Sacred Song and sing it quietly in my heart: 

“Human life is always shrouded in illusionEvery time when life loses its bearingI will sing, lightly, the song in my heartDo not complainHold on to kindnessMost people have come from heavensBecoming human to wait for the CreatorThat is the long-waited hope for all beingsThis song awakens meThis song gives me strengthThe sacred melody makes the sky clear” (“The Sacred Song,” Hong Yin IV)

On our cultivation path, all practitioners need to support and help one another. Later, some veteran members came back while new members joined in too. Now, the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band’s conditions should be the best. We have our own practice venue and we have professional teachers to guide us in our practice.

Thank you, Master! Thank you, fellow practitioners!

(Presented at the Western U.S. Tian Guo Marching Band Cultivation Experience Sharing Conference)