UCA hosted a traditional Chinese music show in Reynolds Performance Hall to celebrate Confucius Institute Day on Oct. 3.
Fully sponsored by the UCA Confucius Institute, the free event invited the public to enjoy the musings of both American folk music and native Chinese tunes played on instruments such as the er-hu, pi-pa and the Chinese flute.
China’s Nanjing University, which has won countless awards and has toured many countries, gave the performance.
Nanjing University does not offer a music degree, so the orchestra is composed of undergraduates and graduates from various departments of the college. Departments including literature, history, philosophy, law, economics, business management, natural sciences, engineering science and medical science.
The amateur group abides by the perception of promoting national culture, popularizing the classic arts, developing a quality-oriented education and displaying the brilliance of its students.
Since developing, the group has been invited to give performances in America, Britain, Germany, Canada, Russia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and more.
UCA has been housing the 24th Confucius Institute in the United States since 2007, in partnership with one of China’s most prestigious universities, East China Normal University (ECNU).
Being one of the only institutes in Arkansas and one of few in the South, it was a rare experience for the UCA public to witness staples within the Chinese culture and to learn more about UCA’s Confucius Institute.
The show had various events including a Tai Chi performance paired with a pipe solo and a calligraphy demonstration paired with a pi-pa solo.
The musician group presented music representing the picturesque Southern Jiangsu, the home of Nanjing University.
As the soloists played their music, both the painter and the Tai Chi demonstrator – a philosophy major – choreographed their performances to the rhythm of each song. The calligrapher – a professor at the institute – gifted the paintings he did to the university.
Freshman Jia Tu said it was refreshing to hear music that she grew up with, since she is from China.
“I grew up listening to this music,” Tu said. “I thought the performance was very good.”
The group incorporated classic American songs such as “Yankee Doodle” toward the end of the symphony, which was sophomore Josh Carlat’s favorite part of the show.
“‘Yankee Doodle’ was a twist that I did not expect,” Carlat said. “The show was very good; I enjoyed it a lot.”
The audience clapped along with the instruction of orchestra conductor and instructor Zhang Jingbo, which held the audience’s attention for the remainder of the songs.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 7, 2015 print edition of The Echo.