On the afternoon of February 11, the Chinese Spring Festival Gala presented by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona was staged at the the university’s Centennial Hall.
Tucson mayor Jonathan Rothschild, UA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Andrew Comrie, UA Vice President for Global Initiative Suzanne Panferov Reese attended and spoke at the show.
Mr. Rothschild wished the audience happy Chinese new year and said this was his eighth time watching the gala.
The show opened with the Chinese folk music ensemble An Auspicious New Year by CIUA’s Purple Bamboo Orchestra, in which CIUA’s music instructor Weili Lin and Dan Guo played.
The show followed with song and dance Spring Joy by local American children learning Chinese, the Mongolian dance The Swan Goose, the Peking Opera The Farewell to My Concubine, the Chinese martial arts performance, the Cheongsam show, Northeastern China folk dance, and many more.
Soprano Qian Lei and tenor Yayun Li, music teachers from CIUA’s partner institution Shaanxi Normal University, were invited to sing songs A Glass of Sweet Wine, My Beautiful Home, The Rhythm of China and My Silk Road Girl.
CIUA’s martial arts instructor Xintuo Zhang was joined by two dancers in presenting the show titled Dance of the Ink and Brush, which integrated Chinese martial arts, folk dance and calligraphy to exhibit the beauty of traditional Chinese culture. Ninety young U.S. students from CIUA’s Confucius Classrooms recited and sang an ancient Chinese poem Goose, Goose, Goose in Chinese.
Charlotte MacInnis, former TV host of China’s Central Television and now a member of CIUA staff, co-hosted the gala with three other Chinese and U.S. masters of ceremony.
The show was featured by the cooperation and interplay of Chinese and U.S. musicians and dancers.
In the Chinese folk music ensemble, Chinese musical instrument Erhu, Yangqin and Pipa played harmoniously with western orchestra under the baton of a U.S. conductor Dr. Linus Lerner.
Ms Xiaohui Li, a martial arts instructor from CIUA’s Confucius classroom, led her U.S. students in Tai Chi fan performance. Young U.S. dancers from the Ballet Rincon Performance Ensemble, dressing in traditional Chinese costumes, performed the Spring Flowers.
The Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra performed a Chinese classic The Ode to the Red Flag, and Chinese Guzheng instrumentalist Jing Xia played the Tale of the Rainbow Clouds to the accompaniment of SASO.
CIUA’s Spring Festival Gala, in its tenth year this time, has become a much anticipated cultural feast in Tucson. According to Ms Megan of Centennial Hall’s box office, the tickets sold out very quickly and it was difficult to get a good ticket these years as the show became increasingly popular.
The 102-year-old Ms Weston liked Chinese art so much that she attended the show for the second time after her last visit two years ago, though she needed to be wheel-chaired and carry an oxygen bag with her.
Local media gave extensive coverage of the event. Arizona Daily Star published a report with video clips on its website, and its report Mr. Fred said after the show that “it is the most beautiful show I’ve ever watched. I was thrilled.”
Video provided by Fred Araiza, Arizona Daily Star
New Agency America also carried a report on its website: http://www.chinesenewsusa.com/news/show-17314.html.
After the show, many people from the audience sent emails CIUA to praise the show. Alan of UA’s Mirror Lab watched the show for the first time and he wrote that he enjoyed it so much and he would definitely come back for the next year’s gala. A young man named Adam said this wasn’t anything like the American show he had watched before and it was versatile and entertaining. A viewer by the name Versluis exclaimed: “It is so amazing! It is unbelievable!”
CIUA’s Prof. Larry Lang, who is the artistic director of the show, said: “Chinese Spring Festival gala is not only a get-together for Chinese people in the U.S., but also a tribute to the ethnic integration. It not only showcases Chinese culture, making Chinese people proud, but also attracts U.S. people to Chinese music and Chinese art.”
CIUA director Prof. Zhao Chen said it is the institute’s aspiration to make its Spring Festival Gala the most enjoyable one in north America.