The pictures above are from the big singing contest held on campus last night to honor China's 60th anniversary. Different departments have been practicing their songs for weeks. The contest began at 7:00 in Confucius square, with the singers performing on brightly lit steps and thousands of people watching in the square. Every performance followed the same sequence: The singers filed onto the steps in rigid rows, with the most beautiful girls in the front row, the plain girls behind them, and the men in the back. Often several men in military dress waved a Chinese flag behind the singers. An elegantly dressed announcer would say a few words, and then the singers would burst into a patriotic tune. Most of the songs were recycled several times through the evening, with some songs being sung twice in a row by different groups. In spite of the lack of variety, I enjoyed being part of a big crowd listening to music on a beautiful fall evening. And I learned something about China: Tradition trumps innovation.
The pictures above show:
1) Students practicing on the afternoon before the contest
2) Spectators covering every square inch of Confucius's statue
4) Some of my students after performing their song