Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Utah News

Chinese Performance at Logan Tabernacle Culmination of a Summer of Cultural Exchange


For the first time, a Chinese-themed concert will be performed as part of this summer's Logan Tabernacle Concert Series. In anticipation of their performance, some of the participants spoke with UPR's Kerry Bringhurst.

Eric Watterson is the Global Marketing Director at Icon Health & Fitness as well as a musician and composer. Eric Chipman is with the University of Utah's Confucius Institute and is a traditional Chinese instrumentalist. Both of these gentlemen became familiar with Chinese music while on a religious mission to Taiwain.

"That's where I fell in love with the guzheng, a big zither harp. It's about six feet long and a foot wide. I decided that's the one thing I wanted to bring home. I had thoughts about playing that instrument and combining it with Western instruments. From there I started collecting other Chinese instruments and writing and composing music."

"I would go into those same music stores. There is such a unique sound in Chinese music and I was attracted to that. So I brought home an erhu, a 2-stringed instrument similar to a violin, that you play with a bow.

"Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit Italian missionary in the 16th century. He was the first foreigner to access the Forbidden City, which is where the emperor was in Beijing. He learned Chinese. He wrote some of the first Chinese translations and was a musician as well. He was very much a proponent of combining cultures. We thought he was interesting character, so he's the namesake of our musical endeavor."

"Often times there's an awakening within a Chinese person's awareness of how important their parents are. There's an underlining current of filial piety, which is the title of this concert, which can be interpreted as reverence to your elders or parents. There's a genre of music where they write something that says 'I realize what a great person you are and how much you sacrificed for me.' I wrote a song when I was 14 for my grandpa as a gift for him on his 80th birthday. I'll be performing that on Friday."

Dr. Brenda Sun is the director of the project called "Bamboo Grove: A Chinese Cultural Exploration", which culminates in the Logan Tabernacle concert on Friday, August 10. The concert includes the Chinese music of Eric Chip and Eric Watterson, performance by 14-year-old pianist Trenton Chang, magic by Ming Fu, and Chinese dancing by Utah skating champion Camie Yuan.

"This Chinese concert is the grand finale of our ten week summer activity, where we use the excuse of exploring Chinese culture to really promote a culture of learning from other cultures. Particularly, we wish to use cultural exchange, music, and magic...to really awaken ourselves of the values that our founding fathers and pioneers held very close to their hearts. We want to benchmark on other cultures to remind ourselves what we might have gained or lost...because we need to know what other cultures are up to because we're in a global community."