WMU News

Guest Chinese musicians give two free performances

Jan. 30, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Peking Opera-style singers and musicians from the Hunan Art School of China will give two free public performances at Western Michigan University during a two-week tour of the Midwest, which begins and ends in Kalamazoo.

Performing traditional Chinese music with authentic instruments, the ensemble will appear as part of the School of Music Convocation Series at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, and will give a guest artist recital at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11. Both concerts will be in the Dalton Center Recital Hall and will include solo and group performances in a varied program of vocal and instrumental music and dance.

During their time in Kalamazoo, members of the ensemble will visit classrooms at WMU and in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. They will be honored at a private reception attended by representatives of the local Chinese community, the city of Kalamazoo and the Chinese Consulate in Chicago.

During their visit, the ensemble also is scheduled for performances in Chicago and Indianapolis and at Michigan State University, Hope College and Grand Valley State University.

The Hunan Art School is located at the foot of the Yuelu Mountain in the city of Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province in southeastern China. The school was preceded by a music department in the Literature and Art College of Hunan Province, a college founded in 1951. It is the only certified and highest ranking educational institution for the arts in Hunan Province and is responsible for teacher training for the arts. The Hunan Art School has 2,560 full-time undergraduate students and 280 faculty members. Facilities include two fully equipped concert halls.

WMU's School of Music is sponsoring the ensembles' Dalton Center performances. Rev. Richard Fenner of HELP Ministries in Mattawan, Mich., initiated the arrangements and is the principal sponsor for the Hunan Art School visit. Fenner became acquainted with the Hunan ensemble two years ago while performing African American folk songs in Changsha, China.

Media contact: Kevin West, 269 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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