Two Worlds, One Art: A collaborative choral performance between Jianghan University and UW-Parkside

Published: May 2, 2019

SOMERS - The Voices of Parkside members are busily perfecting their Mandarin as they prepare to sing The Moon Represents My Heart—one of the best-known Chinese pop songs of all times—for two concerts, on Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25. They will be performing alongside a choir from Jianghan University, located in Wuhan, China. The Friday performance will be held at Bedford Concert Hall in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts & Humanities, at 7 p.m. The Saturday performance will be held at 1st Presbyterian Church, located at 716 College Avenue in Racine, at 7 p.m. This event is completely free and open to the public.

Both choirs will each get the opportunity to experience each other’s music and culture as well, in a unique collaboration UW-Parkside has titled, “Two Worlds, One Art.” The Jianghan University singers will be in Wisconsin May 20-27; the UW-Parkside group will be in China June 9-19.

Professor Zhi Yong Chen will bring his choir of 22 students to spend a week at UW-Parkside with Dr. James Kinchen and his elite choir, Voices of Parkside. While preparing to perform two concerts with Voices, the visiting group will get a chance to explore the Midwest. The two ensembles will share meals, visit Chicago and the Art Institute, and spend two afternoons exploring Racine and Kenosha. 

On May 24, the two groups will perform a concert in Bedford Hall. Some selections will be performed with both choirs together, and some will be performed separately. They will reprise their concert on Saturday night, 25 May, at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Racine.  

The repertoire has been in preparation for well over a year. Dr. Kinchen traveled to and taught at Jianghan University in June of 2018. There, he worked with theirs choirs on a selection of Western songs for them to sing in Wisconsin. Those pieces include “Alleleuia” by Randall Thompson, “A Boy and a Girl” by Eric Whitacre, “Kyrie” by Mozart, “Joshua” arranged by Moses Hogan, and “The Awakening” by Joseph Martin.

After the May concerts in Wisconsin, the Voices of Parkside, along with Drs. Kinchen and George Wang from the Institute of China Studies, and UW-Parkside jazz professor Russ Johnson, will travel to China and spend one week at Jianghang University, where they will have a chance to visit the city of Wuhan and perform two concerts. They will also have the opportunity to explore and learn about the great cultural traditions of China.

The partnership between Parkside and Jianghan University was forged back in the fall of 2017 when the Music Department welcomed Professor Lilly Zhang for six months as a visiting scholar. Professor Zhang researched American music pedagogies, sang in Dr. Kinchen’s Master Singers choir, and performed a concert for a packed house. Dr. Kinchen traveled to China the following summer to cement our exchange. This evaluable collaboration has been made possible by the careful facilitation of Dr. Wang.

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Contact Info:
Lesley H. Walker, Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Humanities

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