Chinese musicians perform at Sunset Ridge School
By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Mon., Dec. 23, 2013
Chinese musicians came to Sunset Ridge School on Dec. 13 to perform for the East Hartford elementary students. Authentic Chinese instruments that were played included the Zheng, Pipa and Yanqin.
The school is one of 14 American elementary schools that partake in a program from the Asia Society/Confucius Network School. “We are a theme-based school,” said Principal Emil Kopcha. “Our students learn to speak and write in Chinese as well as learn the Chinese culture. We have a sister school in China that is learning to speak English and study our culture.” China has made this type of learning possible through a grant. A Chinese teacher was sent to Sunset Ridge to help with the learning process. At the end of the instrumental performance, Kopcha showed a video of Chinese students playing typical American instruments.
Central Connecticut State University foreign exchange student Xinyu Li gave a brief introduction of the musicians as well as the instruments that they play. Li is a broadcasting student majoring in radio and television. “These women are not only great musicians, but they have very strong hands,” said Li. “If I were to get into a fight with one of them, I am sure they would win,” joked Li.
Yihan Chen played the Pipa, which is a four-stringed lute or Chinese guitar that is short with a bent neck and is pear-shaped. This is one of the most popular Chinese instruments, played solo or in a collective setting. Chen currently lives in Simsbury.
Musician Lan Yao is a Yangqin soloist who is a Southbury resident. A Yangqin is a Chinese hammered dulcimer that is originally from Persia. Yao played with extreme intensity and entertained the students with her music as well as her passion for the instrument. Yao was invited to perform in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Since arriving in the United States, she has performed throughout Connecticut and New York with the Jasmine Performing Arts Group.
Yan Xu, from Jinan, China, played the instrument called a Zheng. A Zheng is an instrument that is played while in a horizontal position. It is approximately 47 inches in length and is played by plucking the strings. Xu began to play the instrument at the age of 5, and by time she was 9, she was already performing abroad. Xu plans to return to China and continue her performing, as well as resuming her teaching career.
According to Sunset Ridge teacher Wenching Chiang, the concert was funded by the Asia Society/Confucius Classroom Network and Hanban Confucius Institute which is located in CCSU. The school also received two Zhone Ruan (mid-sized Chinese guitars) and five Erhu from their sister school, Weifang High Tech Bilingual School.