MUSIC

Chinese women’s choir makes inaugural trip to U.S.

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Tian Kong Choir will perform at Augustana at 8 p.m. Monday, March 7, in Centennial Hall (3703 7th Ave.). The highly regarded all-female ensemble is visiting the United States for the first time and has scheduled stops in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and at Augustana College. The concert is free and open to the public.

A relationship between Augustana and Huazhong Normal University in Central China (CCNU) started in 1978 when Augustana students and faculty visited the university as part of their East Asia term experience. In 1992, Augustana granted an honorary degree to CCNU university president, Dr. Zhang Kai-yuan, a noted Chinese historian. The partnership continues today with annual visits by faculty, and recent Augustana graduates teaching English on-campus.

“We currently have six recent grads teaching English to the university students at CCNU,” said Dr. Van Symons, professor of history and director of the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows Program. “Over the life of the exchange, over 70 Augustana teachers have taught at CCNU on one-year academic appointments.”   

One of the participants in the student-faculty fellows program was Dr. Jon Hurty, director of the Augustana Choir and a music professor. Through the program, Hurty and Dr. Tian Xiaobao, director of the Tian Kong Choir, developed a strong relationship that led to the Augustana Choir visiting CCNU and Tian Xiaobao visiting Augustana several times to work with Hurty and study choral literature. In 2005, the Augustana Choir went to China on tour and performed with the Tian Kong Choir.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Tian on several occasions since 2002—both in China and here at Augustana,” said Hurty. “His choirs are some of the finest in all of China. It is wonderful to finally host the Tian Kong Choir here at Augustana—it will be a great opportunity for the two choirs to exchange and to expose the Quad-City community to this style of choral music.”

The Tian Kong Choir is comprised of music students from CCNU and teachers of music from other colleges and universities in the Central China region. Under the direction of Tian Xiaobao, the choir is known for its high level of precision, musicality and interactive performance style. It has received numerous awards, including the first grade award of specialized group in the National Contest of Art Song Singing for College Students.

For more information, contact Andrew Walter at  "clydeandrewwalter@augustana.edu" clydeandrewwalter@augustana.edu  or (309) 794-7833.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers more than 70 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty members and has a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.