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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Showcasing ‘the beauty of culture’


    Photo courtesy of Larry Lang

    From Sept. 18 to Sept. 28, the UA Confucius Institute will present its second annual Chinese Culture Festival, allowing the Tucson community to share and learn about traditional Chinese culture through music, food, performances, lectures, films and more.

    Last year, the festival drew about 3,000 participants, and this year, the Confucius Institute is looking forward to an even bigger turnout, said Larry Lang, senior program coordinator at the Confucius Institute.

    “We want to add something to the color of Chinese culture,” Lang said.

    Lang spoke on the significance of the festival, adding that its scheduling coincides with the 75th Annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, which will be celebrated on Sept. 21. In Chinese tradition, the Autumn Moon Festival is a “holiday of harvest,” comparable to Thanksgiving, Lang said.

    On Friday and Saturday, Wang Liping will be premiering his work called “Symphonic Suite: Dream of the Red Chamber” for the first time in North America, performed by soloist Chen Li, the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and other musicans from China. The concert, Lang said, will serve as the festival’s centerpiece this year.

    “Each year we have a different focal point,” he said, “And this year it’s the concert.”

    Zhao Chen, co-director of the Confucius Institute, said the concert incorporates both Chinese music and melodies while integrating Western elements to provide a unique concert for the Tucson community.

    “The quality of this show is top-notch,” Chen said. “People don’t have to go far to get that exposure.”

    Additionally, the Confucius Institute will hold a Chinese Language Day in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom on Sunday, where students and community members can participate in friendly, competitive games offering food and awards for participants.

    Chen said that by giving the festival the opportunity to reach out to Tucson and the UA, they are responding to the needs of the community as a whole.

    “Language without culture is very abstract, so we want to provide both during the festival,” Chen said, adding that she hopes to create an attraction for people interested in Chinese linguistics.

    On Saturday, the DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center in Reid Park is scheduled to host Chinese Health Day, which will feature outdoor shows and performances. Visitors will be able to learn about, as well as watch, tai chi and martial arts, and indulge in food.

    “The [Confucius Institute’s] purpose for us is to promote the local Chinese language and education,” Lang said.

    One of the many ways the institute aims to do this is in offering lectures throughout the time of the festival’s duration.

    Beginning on Wednesday, the institute has arranged a number of different lectures covering Chinese instrumental music, poetry, medicinal practices and literature. The lectures are designed to give the community a deeper understanding of Chinese heritage.

    The institute, Chen said, is looking to reach beyond people who already have an understanding of their Chinese heritage and encourage students and the Tucson community to participate in the festival.

    “We want to show off the beauty of our culture,” Chen added, “So people can have the experience right here in Tucson.”

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