CCCC hosts China National Orchestra members' lecture, performance
Central Carolina Community College's Confucius Classroom hosted the China National Orchestra's art ... (more)
China National Orchestra pipa artist Zhao Cong performs during the Oct. 2 Chinese Music Exhibition ... (more)
China National Orchestra musician Wang Zhanzhan (left) and the orchestra's artistic director Xi Qi ... (more)
SANFORD - Xi Qiang, artistic director of the China National Orchestra, and several of the orchestra's members entertained and educated an audience of more than 100 of all ages Oct. 2 at the Chinese Music Exhibition & Seminar in the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
The event, hosted by Central Carolina Community College's Confucius Classroom, presented the history and sounds of various Chinese instruments, some with histories dating back thousands of years.
Xi, author of the book, "Chinese Music and Instruments," drew on his broad knowledge to speak about the instruments, which were then demonstrated by the musicians: bamboo flutes; bianzhong bells; suona, a double-reed wind instrument; sheng, a reed instrument with multiple vertical pipes; erhu, a two-stringed fiddle made of wood and boa skin; pipa, a pear-shaped lute; and a small drum.
"Chinese and American music is really much alike," he told the audience. "It is the expression of people seeking peace and happiness."
Guan Wang, CCCC's Confucius Classroom visiting professor, translated Xi's presentation from Mandarin Chinese into English. She recently arrived from Chengdu, People's Republic of China, where she is an English professor at the University of Sichuan Media and Communications. A welcome reception for her will be held 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at the Civic Center.
The program opened with the music of numerous fluttering, chirping birds filling the Civic Center's auditorium as six musicians performed "A Hundred Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix." The musical instruments mimicked the singing of many different birds. The suona took the lead as the sound of Phoenix, the queen of birds. Each instrument - wind, string, or percussion - added its unique sound to perform this cheerful folk tune. The song also demonstrated, Xi said, how people use music as a way to be in harmony with nature.
The musicians then played their instruments, one at a time, as Xi spoke about their history and sound. Some audience members had the opportunity to participate in the musical demonstrations by striking the bianzhong or blowing on the suona or sheng.
The Carolina China Council was instrumental in arranging the presentation by Xi and members of the NCO, several of them award-winning musicians.
"We wanted people in China and the United States to understand each other better," said Lian Xie, Council president, who has lived in the United States for 21 years. "There are activities like this in New York or San Francisco, but there's something about seeing a group like this coming to a smaller place - that's how you reach out to more people and broaden the scope of a people-to-people exchange."
Following the exhibition, CCCC President Bud Marchant, Dean of University Transfer and Health Science Jon Matthews, and Guan Wang presented a highly detailed miniature face jug to Xi, crafted by North Cole Pottery, in Sanford. The muscians each received miniature face jugs crafted by Lantern Hill Pottery, in Seagrove.
CCCC's Confucius Classroom was founded in 2009 in partnership with N.C. State University's Confucius Institute and Nanjing Normal University. It was the first community college in the nation to have a Classroom.
"We established the Confucius Classroom to bring an exciting and unique opportunity for preparing our students for the global economy and promoting the local area," President Marchant said. "We also wanted to add to the cultural resources available in our service area of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. The presentation tonight has been an outstanding example of that and we thank the China National Orchestra and the Carolina China Council for partnering with us in this."
Guan Wang is available for presentations or seminars for community groups, area businesses, and local schools. Topics include food, travel, business practices and etiquette, art, customs and holidays, and languages of China.
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