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Taiwanese girls senior high marching band wins hearts at Canadian parade

07/07/2024 07:40 PM
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The Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards marches down Calgary's streets at the Calgary Stampede Parade Friday. Photo courtesy of Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards, July 6, 2024
The Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards marches down Calgary's streets at the Calgary Stampede Parade Friday. Photo courtesy of Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards, July 6, 2024

Vancouver, July 6 (CNA) The Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards' (TFGMHC) performance at the 2024 Calgary Stampede Parade won the Celebrity Judges Choice, organizers announced on Friday.

Marching in the parade to shouts of "Taiwan!" and "You are the best," the band was praised by attending Canadian officials as the best troupe in the parade, Director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver Angel Liu (劉立欣) told CNA.

Liu dubbed the high school marching band "the perfect Taiwanese promoters."

Chen Pei-tzu (陳珮慈), the color guards' vice captain, told CNA that she felt that they were winning glory for Taiwan, honoring expectations for them to be "the most beautiful diplomatic ambassadors."

Their coach, Cheng Ko-li (鄭顆澧), has also been a TFGMHC member and more recently led the school band to many international performances, including the 2007 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in the U.K. and the 2023 Rose Parade in the U.S.

A woman waves an ROC flag as the Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards marches down Calgary's streets at the Calgary Stampede Parade Friday. Photo courtesy of Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards, July 6, 2024
A woman waves an ROC flag as the Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards marches down Calgary's streets at the Calgary Stampede Parade Friday. Photo courtesy of Taipei First Girls High School Marching Band, Honor Guards and Color Guards, July 6, 2024

Overseas Taiwanese, including officials, have said that the band's performances amazed the world, Cheng told CNA, adding that they felt a sense of honor at showing the world something beautiful from Taiwan.

However, the Taiwanese performers also encountered opposition.

Liu said a Calgary city official told her the Chinese consulate in Calgary protested the organizers' decision to invite the marching band and letting them wave the Republic of China (ROC, Taiwan's official name) flag.

To Liu's relief, the organizers withstood the pressure.

Even so, some Taiwanese living in Canada noticed that the official live television broadcast of the parade went to commercials just as the TFGMHC made its entrance, resulting in the ROC flag being absent from the livestream.

Moreover, the band's name was also omitted from the official website's list of participants. Although some other groups also did not make the list, these "coincidences" were still disheartening, the Taiwanese said.

The Calgary Stampede, now in its 112th year, is an annual celebration of "the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west," according to the official website.

The parade opens the event, which runs from July 5-14, and attracted a record-setting 350,000 people, organizers said.

CNA video

(By Cheng Ai-feng and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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