Journey East Trip to China 2005

LELAND AND GRAY UNION HIGH AND MIDDLE SCHOOL ó TOWNSHEND, VT 05353

Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East IV

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director

BuiltWithNOF

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You know those two-panel cartoons in the Sunday funnies where you have to find six things that are different. Well, hereís something like that. Take a good look at the photo to the right. Study it. Okay, now can you pick out the tourist? Youíre right. The six people on the left are visiting from . . . actually, Matt may look like a tourist, but he fits right in wherever he is. How can he not with that great big smile?! Looking good, Matt!

Today, you are going to be treated to a double batch of goodness. And I mean Goodness, with a capital G, that rhymes with D, and L&G, that stands for Double Layered Goodness! There are over eighty photos on this page! This might be a record! Zowee! And, thatís not all! Nope, as a special bonus (at no extra charge), we are including Emily Fullerís exciting report of this dayís memorable events!

Okay, letís dip into the first batch of goodness. Like yesterday, we have some photos showing you some of the real China these kids are living and experiencing. Tom explains the pictures below.
 

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We took the kids to an open air market outside of the University gate this morning. These are just random shots that I took of people, food both alive and about to be or just having been butchered. I send these photos so that parents might get a glimpse of the experiences that our kids are having.  Life is lived pretty close to the bone here as many of these photos will attest to. These photos also show people who are happy and welcoming of thirty strangers moving through their midst. This is not the Epcot version of China, nor is it the China that wealthy American tourists see when they "tour" China. The photos attest to the validity, the integrity of the experience. óTom

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Incredible. Itís like we are there. If you look real hard, you can even hear the noise on the streets. My daughter Kim (veteran of the 2002 journey) comes in when pictures arrive and starts talking about this and that and where things are . . . I see her eyes light up when she sees the pictures. Itís like she enters a time machine and transports herself back to China 2002! In less than three weeks, you too will have a ďjourney vetĒ in your house going on and on . . . it never gets old!

And now, before we reach for your second helping ó photos from the groupís final performance in Qufu ó letís listen as Emily tells all about the day . . .

    Emily Fuller, Freshman
    April 7, 2005

    This morning we went to a Chinese market. It was unlike any other market I have ever been to. I think it was more of what I'd imagined before I came to China. There were dead animal carcasses just hanging up everywhere waiting to be bought and cooked-which was kind of weird. Tom said there are about five other markets like this in Qufu, so a lot of people must do their shopping there.

    In the afternoon we went to Qufu Tecaher's College to get ready for our 7pm performance there. After we set up, we were given a tour of the school.  When we got to their track there were people playing Chinese drums in some sort of band. We also saw them in gym-type classes doing different kinds of kick moves [kung fu]. They showtn_dormitory roo02ed us a dorm that the students live in; eight stay in one room on bunk beds. I used to think that college dorms in the US with two people per room were small, but that's nothing compared to having eight kids in the same size room!

    Our performance tonight went so well despite some problems. None of the lapel mikes we use for dialogue and some singing could be used, so we had to nearly scream every line. Also, some of the cordless mikes couldn't be used. [There wasn't enough power in the hall we were playing in]. We kind of just had to figure everything out as we went along. I think we all found out what it really meant to be "big" on stage and why that is so important. If we aren't big enough, we will lose the audience, especially in China since they don't understand a lot of our dialogue. Now that I think about it, it is a good thing that all the bad stuff happened before the performance because it made everyone better performers.

NOTE: It sure did. One couldn't have invented, planned or paid for a better team building moment. The most valuable of those seem to spring forth organically. What a model that evening was in "creative problem solving," rigor and perseverance. And the audience loved the performances, wrinkles and all, because the kids were 200 per cent ON. Ann

and now, moments away from your second (and extremely high-calorie) portion of this delicious entree. This was indeed a night to remember!

Tom, will you give us your impressions of last nightís performance?

    The performance last night was utterly awesome. There were roughly 1,000 screaming, clapping students from the Qufu Teacher's School. Our kids were tested by major electrical issues, as in tn_German-built church that served as our theaternot enough power to run all of our equipment, and they IMPROVISED like you would not believe. They were huge!!!! Thirty people all working together to figure things out under pressure in a hurry! You would all have been so proud of them. This was one of those experiences where you can genuinely say to the kids afterwards: "There is nothing that you can't do." They grew light years as performers because they had to.

    The applicability of the skills that they demonstrated and the growing confidence that they are experiencing are lifellong. This is truly what educators call authentic assessment or authentic application of what we are teaching our students. Although Ann, Matt and I are the teachers here, the teachers that these kids have had. in the past can certainly take some credit for the creativity and adaptability that our kids demonstrate. I'm proud  and fortunate to be a part of it. They were tested and passed with flying colors

    On another, lighter note, Ray will not be coming home with us [just kidding!]. He is a rock star in Qufu. The girls loved him. He ran my new pen out of ink signing autographs, grinning from ear to ear the entire time. What an experience for him. Riley and Kaylene were a definite hit; Elvis rocks in Qufu. There is a photo of Katy sitting on the lap of the President of the Far East Vocational College who attended the performance. What a night!

    Well, we're off to Ni Hill. We will stop in a village on the way back, which will be a sobering but necessary experience for our group. Gosh, the yin and yang of this program is awesome. See you anon. óTom

You can feel it canít you? Close your eyes and think back to the dress rehearsal. These kids are performing live to a packed house! They are lighting up stage! These are YOUR kids, ladies and gentlemen. They are in China right now bringing joy to the world! WOW!

Now keep that intensity going and check out the pictures of the night!
 

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Oh look, Itís Ray!!!!!!

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Hey look Ray, Iíve got a fan club too!

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Forget Ray and Corey, itís the Beatles!

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Tonight, tonight, wonít be just any night! Bravo! Bravo!

Youríe keeping track of the audience count, right? Theyíve topped two thousand now in their first two performances!

Today the group visits Ni Hill, the birthplace of Confucius.

    Take the name "Confucius" as an example. His surname in Chinese is "Kong". His given name "Qiu" means "hill". His alias is "Zhong Ni", with "Zhong" meaning "the second son of the family" and "Ni" taken from the name of the hill where his parents had prayed for his birth. And he has many "styles", most bestowed upon him after his death.
    (from:
    siecpage.3322.net/names.htm)

Theyíll have more free time in the afternoon and their farewell banquet in the evening. This is their last day in Qufu. Itís off to Jinan tomorrow and then they take to the skies again and head west to Xiían on Sunday.

I imagine the gang has enjoyed being in one place for a few days. I can imagine what some of their rooms must look like by now!

Final day in Qufu tomorrow. Like saying good bye to an old friend already.

Be well . . .

[JE trip 2005] [Dress Rehearsal] [Itinerary] [Press release] [March 29]