I have been super busy after my arrival in Guangzhou on May 10th. The delegation group from the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University arrived on May 14th, and I have been with the group serving as a coordinator and translator for their 7-day tour in Guangzhou. The delegation was led by Prof. Joy Calico, an Associate Professor of Musicology. Other delegation members include Prof. Gayle Shay (Associate Professor of Voice), Ms. Jennifer McGuire (Senior Lecturer in Collaborative Piano, Pianist for the performance), Tom Mulder (Tenor), Katie Heaton (Soprano), Julia DiFiore (Mezzo-soprano) and Matthew Brennan (Baritone). The tour is a return visit for the Lingnan Beijing Opera League at Sun Yat-Sen University that visited Vanderbilt and performed at Blair in March.
Everyday in that week was pretty packed. The group had performance at two high schools, Tung Wah High School in Dongguan and Nan Wu High School in Guangzhou, and one performance at Sun Yat-Sen University. They performed opera scenes from The Marriage of Figaro, Cinderella, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lakme, Pearl Fisher, Again and Candide. Audience were mainly high school students, teachers, college students and university professors. I co-hosted the show (in Chinese) with Prof. Calico (in English). The performances were really amazing, entertaining and engaging. I was still thrilled before the show at SYSU although I have already watched it twice in two high schools. Audience enjoyed a lot, since they often laughed and clapped at the right time during the performance.
Despite visiting high schools (interacting with students and having Q&A sessions), SCNU and SYSU, I have also visited some attractions in Guangzhou and nearby cities with the Blair group, including the Canton Tower, Chen Family Hall (陈家祠), The Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King, etc. The group had a visit to the U.S. Consulate on Friday and we learnt a lot about their operations. On Sunday night, SYSU invited us to watch Kun Opera at the grant new Guangzhou Opera House performed by the best Kun Opera Group from Jiangsu province (my hometown!). We also reunited with students from the Lingnan Opera League at SYSU and had a wonderful discussion session with the students and professors from the Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage at the university, while I served as the translator.
The food was always amazing. We had dim sum for every meal! Guangzhou is famous for delicious food, and is the heaven for foodies.
I have been working non-stop for 12 days and today is my first day off after arrival. However, it was a very rewarding experience for me to serve as a coordinator and translator for the group. This is the first time for me to serve as a communication bridge of cultural exchange and fully utilize my fluency in both languages and knowledge of Chinese and American cultures. All the friends I made, knowledge I learnt (mostly about Western and Chinese operas) and language and real-life skills I practiced are invaluable.
This past Friday and Saturday we had a PRT Symposium at SCNU with several English Language Fellows from the U.S. who have been training teachers around the world for several years. Chuckie is going to write about this event in the next post.
- Cynthia of the 2014 Guangzhou 2