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tn_Children's Palace , Guild Hall and Downtown 140
JE 2008

China time and date:


It’s a Really Big Shew!
(ala Ed Sullivan Show)

Greetings everybody!

group 4-7

Here we are again at yet another checkpoint. Two weeks ago you were preparing for this trip and many of you said goodbye to your kids (and chaperone spouses). Two weeks! You are all hanging in there and soon we will make the turn and head this journey back home.

We have some performance photos and some more sound files. We are expecting much more as we move along, so, as always, check back. It is also a great idea to check back through earlier pages in case you missed additions that took place after your last visit.

For now, however, there is still way too much to see and do in Qufu. The group had their opening banquet, rehearsals, time to wander about Qufu, and a chance to get settled down. Their first “big” performance is now behind them and they will continue to tweak and build their “big shew.”

Here’s Tom with the latest:

    tn_Qufu Performance 021The kids were great. This was their first full performance and they handled it well.

    [Many] of the [Chinese] students [are] coming back from a three day break. Chinese throughout China visit the grave sites of their ancestors during this time. [Tom}

Pure Brightness Day” is the reason for the Chinese holiday, Tom mentioned.

Okay, Let’s get this shew underway with some photos. Whaddya say?

tn_Qufu Performance 029

The Play’s the Thing!

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tn_Qufu Performance 011

tn_Qufu Performance 025_edited-1

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What a show! We’ll have the chance to see this show when the group returns to Vermont the end of the month. Can’t wait!

Imagine a place where the language is such that you can’t even guess what anything or anyone says. The culture and way of life is so different from ours. The kids listen for and express familiar noises. Music and physical gestures (smiles, nods, and shrugs . . . and hugs) become their means of communicating. This is such an amazing opportunity (in so many countless ways) for these kids to live outside of themselves.

These performances are the chances for the kids to “let loose” and try things they would never have the courage to try back home, where everyone knows them. In other words, these young people have the opportunity to, for maybe the first time in their lives, really be themselves and . . . see how it works. They won’t be judged, criticized, ridiculed, or questioned. They can just be themselves. And, if they are lucky, by the time they come home, they’ll get to know themselves a little better.

Rachel Ires gives us the report of the day and reflects a little on the impact of their first big performance. Rachel, you’re up!

Rachael Ires, Qufu, China 4/6/08

Breakfast starts at 8:00 A.M. sharp, however, it is optional. Some decide to get the extra 30 minutes of sleep. Either way, we all meet at 9 to attend a lecture on Chinese Folk Music by Chi Shujun and interpreted by Xing Chunlei/ We learned about the different types of folk music; work songs, mountain songs and ditties. We learned the words to “Grinding the Wheat,” “Go to Xiangzhou,” “A Small River That Runs,” “Driving Livestock,” “When Will the Pagoda Tree Flower Blossom,” and “Jasmine Flower,” among others. Chi Shujin sang them all to us and even did a duet with Xing Chunlei. She explained in song in thorough detail before singing them.

After that part of the lecture it was Karaoke time. Ms. Chi taught us all the “Kanding Love Song” and then had all of the girls sing one verse and all of the guys sing another. 

Lunch time followed and dumplings were brought out in quantity. No one seems to be getting sick of them yet. 

After lunch we headed to the market right outside of the campus east gate. It was amazing and really shocking to see the contrast between the campus and the market. It was as if we had entered a completely different world. It was an eye opener to see how other people lived and made the little money that they might have. Some vendors were selling food that was lying on the ground. There seemed to be a lot of dirt and dust everywhere. It seemed to me that the chances of food being clean were very slim. We only stayed in the market for about 45 minutes and then made our way back to the hotel. We had a little free time and then got our stuff together for the performance and went to dinner. We had a light meal because we had a performance coming up and would be fed twice; once before and once after the performance. 

Everything seemed to flow really smoothly throughout the entire performance. It was really clear that people were finally becoming comfortable with themselves and with the performance. It was really a shock to notice how far we have come in just a few short months or even since we have come to China. If we were to mess up during the performance we could play it off as if the mistake was meant to be. We couldn’t really do that successfully before.

We were not the only people who performed tonight. There was a group of Chinese Middle School students from the Affiliated Middle School who did a few pieces consisting of music and dance. It was really interesting to watch the Chinese do their hip hop piece because there are so many ways in which the Chinese and American culture are different but we saw a connection through the dance and music. After both groups performed, we got some more food and headed back to the hotel. Overall, I think that today is probably going to be one of the most memorable because it was our first full performance. We worked really hard to get the performance pieces to where they are now and I just hope that the rest of the performances go as well.

So, The gang is visiting the first of the many Confucius sites. First up is the Temple, Mansion, and Confucius Forest.

    Today we head off for a visit to an English class at the Attached Middle School and then we will go to Confucius Temple, Mansion and Forest. Should be a good day. [Tom]

Two of Qufu’s main attractions are the Temple (built around the house that Confucius grew up in) and the "Forest" (the Kong family cemetery). Over one hundred thousand of Confucius' descendants are buried here).

As mentioned at the top of this broadcast, we have some new sound files. Here’s Mike to tell us about them:

    "Tom in Qufu English Class" is Tom giving an introduction to a middle school class in Qufu. The other English Class file is the students talking to Chinese students. I do a bit of roaming around in this one, so listeners will have to concentrate and recognize voices.

    "Jake, Lena, and Tyler - Night Discussion" comes from a session we had a couple of hours ago. Tom gathered the group and had them read an excerpt from their journals and we let the discussions flow from there. We've been spending a good deal of time in schools throughout our stay here in China and the students had a lot of ideas, though I think many of them are still working things out as we travel. I think these three had some really interesting things to say about the Chinese Educational system, and how they view the American system after sitting in on Chinese classes. [Mike]

This is cool! I know you all are enjoying hearing the kids. Very cool, Mike. Thank you.

Okay, everybody, enjoy this fabulous day and we’ll keep you posted!

Good bye, for now . . .













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