SOU Celebrates New Year with Ancient Chinese Music Concert and Kung-Fu Exhibition
Southern Oregon University’s Department of Performing Arts Music Program presents the Henan Museum Huaxia Orchestra and Monks of the Shaolin Temple in a New Year Celebration on Monday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the SOU Music Recital Hall. The Recital Hall is located on South Mountain Ave., between Ashland and Henry Streets, in Ashland. Admission is free of charge, and the doors will open at 7:00 pm.
The Henan region, situated in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, was central to the rise of China’s early civilization. Exhibits in the highly-regarded Henan Museum are mostly related to the ancient history and culture of the Henan area, including objects, historical traces, ancient architecture, archaeological discoveries and arts and crafts. Formed in 2000, Huaxia Ancient Music Orchestra, a professional group performing ancient Chinese music under the auspices of the Museum, has focused on restoring and playing ancient musical instruments unearthed in central China, including bronze chime-bells, stone and jade chimes, and ancient flute, among others. Also notable among the ancient sites in the region is the Shaolin Temple, the most famous Buddhist monastery in China, whose monks have been staging extravagant martial arts demonstrations for many years, to international acclaim.
More than 20 performers, aged 14 to 45, are included in this delegation from the Henan Museum and the Shaolin Temple. The music that will be performed has been orchestrated by Chinese music history experts and is based on actual ancient music scores. The costumes that will be worn by the performers are authentic reproductions from clothing found in the tombs of ancient musicians.
The program will be presented in three parts. The first half will be a narrated music performance and presentation of instruments, showing ancient Chinese music over different periods, from prehistoric times through the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.). During the intermission, members of the Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Team, from the city of Henan, will demonstrate a variety of martial arts and ancient weapons.
The second half of the program will feature a musical play about the Chinese Lantern Festival. This festival, which has been taking place annually for more than 2,000 years, is held on the first full moon day of the New Year. Also known as “Chinese Valentine’s Day,” it is a festival of flowers, lanterns and love. To finish the second half, the performers will invite audience participation for the “Guessing Game,” which is part of the Chinese Lantern Festival tradition.
The performance of the two groups at Southern Oregon University is co-sponsored by Oregon State University, which is hosting its own presentation on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at the LaSells Student Center at 875 SW 26th Street in Corvallis. Both performances are part of a continuing collaboration among the School of Arts and Communication at Oregon State University, the Department of Performing Arts at Southern Oregon University, the Henan Province Cultural Department, the Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association, and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.