Two Worlds, One Art
A cultural exchange celebrating the universal joy and art of music
The Voices of Parkside 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 24 and 25 May. They will be joined by a choir from Jianghan University, located in Wuhan, China. The choirs will spend extended time together—one week in Wisconsin and a second week in China—learning about each other’s music and culture. We’re calling this grand adventure: “Two Worlds, One Art.”
Professor Zhi Yong Chen will bring his choir, some 22 students, from Jianghan University to Kenosha 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 from China will get a chance to explore the Midwest. The two ensembles will share meals; visit Chicago and the Art Institute; and spend two afternoons sampling cultural sites in Racine and Kenosha.
On May 24, the two groups will perform a free concert, some selections together and others separately, in the Frances Bedford Concert Hall on Parkside’s campus. They will reprise their concert on Saturday, May 25, at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Racine.
The repertoire has been in preparation for well over a year. Dr. Kinchen traveled 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, “Fire, Fire, My Heart by Thomas Morley, and “The Awakening” by Joseph Martin.
Photo: A choir in Jianghan
CHINA CHOIR TOUR
After the May concerts, the Voices of Parkside, 12 students, along with Drs. Kinchen and George Wang from the Institute of China Studies, and our jazz professor, Russ Johnson, will travel to China on a voyage of discovery and music making. The Parkside group will spend one week at Jianghan University where they will have a chance to visit the city of Wuhan and perform two concerts. Afterwards, they will get a chance to do some site seeing and learning about the great cultural traditions of China in Beijing.
Students from Jianghan University visit the midwest and perform with Parkside students in two concerts.
Parkside students tour Beijing and the Great Wall and perform in two concerts alongside their new friends in China.
The partnership between Parkside and Jianghan University was forged back in the fall of 2017 when the Music Department welcomed Professor Lilly Zhang as a visiting scholar. Ms. Zhang, who is a soprano, researched American music pedagogies, sang in Dr. Kinchen’s Master Singers choir, and performed an extraordinary concert to the delight of a packed house while spending 6 months in Kenosha. Dr. Kinchen then traveled to China the next summer to cement our exchange. Importantly, our collaboration has been made possible by the careful facilitation of Dr. George Wang.