The dinner, which sold out of tickets, was comprised of spicy beef, Gongbao chicken, fried rice, and mandarin oranges. Mark Heckler, President of VU, and Zhou Hahihong, Vice President of the Central Conservatory of Music, introduced the night’s festivities. As a sign of goodwill and friendship, the two exchanged gifts; President Heckler presented the visiting Vice President with a collection of recordings by VU orchestral students and staff, and in return was presented with 2 traditional Chinese instruments.
President Heckler recalled his visit to the Central Conservatory of Music ten years ago. He called the Conservatory, “an extraordinary crown jewel in the arts, in the People’s Republic of China.”
The night’s performances were started off by three visiting professors: Lin Huifen, Luo Hongbin, and Wang Xiahong. Lin Huifen and Wang Xiahong sang traditional Chinese songs, while Luo Hongbin gave a martial arts demonstration.
The next performance was a joint venture between VU and Gary orchestral players and members of the Central Conservatory of Music. Despite only having had one night to rehearse together, the two groups were able to create beautiful music for the event.
Finally, the Central Conservatory of Music’s program began. The program started with a cello ensemble playing both a famous Chinese TV play, as well as an arrangement of music by American composer George Gershwin. The night went on to include song, traditional Chinese instruments, and a symphony arrangement.
Professor Chu Yibing, who headed the cello ensemble, said, “Even when humans forget how to make electricity on the blue planet, there will be real music and real art.”
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