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Women's Ensemble Perform for 400 million Chinese

Marvin Ridge High School's Women Ensemble

(Reprinted with permission from the Enquirer Journal.)
The Marvin Ridge High School Women's Ensemble had two days to prepare a performance that will be broadcast for an audience of 400 million.

The ensemble performed the traditional Chinese folk song "Mó Li Hua" or "Jasmine Flower" in the native Chinese. The performance was recorded and will be aired as part of the Mid-Autumn Festival in China.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is a lunar harvest festival celebrated in China and Vietnam. This year, the festival will be held on Sept. 30 and the ensemble's performance will air on the China Yellow River television station as part of the festival. The broadcast will air on Sept. 29 as part of an evening gala.

The opportunity came about when the ensemble performed at a banquet for the Nanjing delegation last April.

Nanjing is Marvin Ridge's sister school. Teachers from Union County travel to Nanjing in the summer to teach English and representatives from the school in Nanjing visit Marvin Ridge.

Weihong Yan, executive director of the Confucius Institute through Pfeiffer University, contacted Choral Director Deborah Lutz, asking if the ensemble could perform.

The girls were not intimidated by singing in another language, they sing in many languages as part of the ensemble.

However, the sounds were different.

"We worked a lot with the Chinese class," Sophomore Kathryn Lavalle said.

Lavalle, along with the other 11 students who performed, are very excited about it.

The ensemble performed the song in April at the banquet.

"It took a very long time to learn that Chinese," Lutz said.

Brushing up on it for the performance took about 45 minutes.

The ensemble wore long, colorful gowns for the performance and did choreography with fans while singing.

"I felt like they really captured the culture," Lutz said.

Though the group cannot watch the broadcast, they will eventually receive a video showing their performance.

Yan, from the Confucius Institute, said the experience could open up some more opportunities for the ensemble.

When the ensemble members sing "Mo Li Hua," it is hard to tell that it is a language they struggled with. The group performs the folk sang naturally as they sway with the lilting music.

The song is a Chinese folk song that originated in the 18th century. It was the first folk song to become popular outside of China and has been featured in operas and films.

Written by: Carolyn Steeves, Enquirer Journal Reporter
Posted: Sep 16, 2012 by Beth Hamilton

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