UAlbany Confucius Institute Brings Chinese Culture to the Campus

Albany, N.Y. (October 10, 2017) – On Oct. 3rd, 2017, UAlbany Confucius Institute hosted a celebration for the traditional Chinese Mid-autumn Festival and Confucius Day at the Performing Arts Center. President Havidán Rodríguez, Vice President Bill Hedberg, Associate Vice Provost for International Education Mark Rentz, Vice Provost of Public Engagement Darrell P. Wheeler, Associate Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Susanna Fessler, and many faculty, students as well as community members, nearly 500 people in total, enjoyed a night of music, food, and lantern riddles. Welcome remarks were given by the Executive Director of UAlbany Confucius Institute Youqin Huang, President Rodríguez and Associate Vice Provost Mark Rentz. President Rodríguez stressed the importance of diverse culture and a better understanding of China in a globalizing world.

President Rodríguez giving welcome remarks, stressing the importance of a diverse culture and a better understanding of China in a globalizing world.

The performance started with ancient poem recitals by children from the Chinese community, followed by Peking Opera performance by Prof. Ting Wang from National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing. “Rap Mask” is a modern Peking Opera piece, combining Peking Opera and pop music, while “Lady Mu Guiying Takes Command” a famous Peking Opera piece, tells the story that a retired female general led the army and went to the battle field to defend the country. This allows the audience to appreciate both traditional Peking Opera and its modern twist.

Tai-chi is another major form of Chinese culture. It is a Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. Tai-chi Showcase by US Health Preservation Association interprets the philosophy of the forces of yin and yang in movements.

Pipa solo “Bursting with Joy” and “Ambush from All Sides” by Prof. Wenwen Chen vividly depict a joyful moment and the fierce battlefield, respectively, through passionate and majestic tunes, demonstrating the versatility of pipa (lute), the traditional Chinese music instrument.

Chinese folk songs such as “A Ditty from the Yimeng Mountain” and “Beautiful Mood” were performed by Prof. Hong Zhang from Binghamton University, and the show ended with “Let there be Peace on Earth” by Prof. Lily Zhang from Colorado State University.

Mid-Autumn Festival, also called "the moon festival," is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. The festival takes place on August 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar, when the moon is believed to be the brightest and fullest. This year, it's on October 4th. To Chinese, this festival means family reunion. People travel home to be with their families, and enjoy some good food. The traditional Chinese food for mid-autumn festival is called moon cakes. In addition, September 29th is the Confucius Day. This is a holiday when Chinese celebrate the birth of one of the most well-known philosophers in China -- Confucius.

UAlbany Confucius Institute, led by Executive Director Dr. Youqin Huang, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, aims to facilitate the understanding of China. It offers various programs both on and off campus, including Chinese language instruction, cultural events, speaker series, academic conferences and workshops, and faculty and students exchange program. For more information:

Leo Yang   (8 years old) reciting poems from Tang Dynasty: “A Tranquil Night” and “Viewing the Moon, Thinking of You”.
Tai-chi Quan showcase, by Vera Childers and her students from US Health Preservation Association
Prof. Wenwen Chen from Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University performed Pipa Solo “Bursting with Joy” and “Ambush from All Sides.”
Prof. Hong Zhang, from Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University, SUNY, performs “A Ditty from the Yimeng Mountain” and “Beautiful Mood.”
Prof. Lily Zhang, a Soprano from Colorado State University, performed “The Little Running Stream” and “Let there be peace on earth.

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