Chinese courses to perform at Lunar New Year Celebration

Freshman+Brianna+Gilbertson+and+senior+Jerrold+Starr+practice+playing+a+Chinese+game+Big+Apple%2C+Small+Apple+Thursday%2C+October+15.+In+Big+Apple%2C+Small+Apple%2C+your+hand+actions+must+be+the+opposite+of+what+you+say%2C+so+saying+big+apple+would+warrant+a+closed+hand+position+as+shown+above.+photo+by+Evelyn+Rodriguez

Freshman Brianna Gilbertson and senior Jerrold Starr practice playing a Chinese game ‘Big Apple, Small Apple’ Thursday, October 15. In ‘Big Apple, Small Apple’, your hand actions must be the opposite of what you say, so saying “big apple” would warrant a closed hand position as shown above in 2016. photo by Evelyn Rodriguez

Alice Yu

Freshman Brianna Gilbertson and senior Jerrold Starr practice playing a Chinese game ‘Big Apple, Small Apple’ Thursday, October 15. In ‘Big Apple, Small Apple’, your hand actions must be the opposite of what you say, so saying “big apple” would warrant a closed hand position as shown above. photo by Evelyn Rodriguez
Practice makes perfect and teachers at the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Confucius Institute are putting this concept to work. Students enrolled in the Chinese 1 and 2 courses at RBHS will have the opportunity to perfect their language pronunciation this Friday at the Confucius Institute’s 2016 Chinese New Year Celebration. The event is set to begin at 7 p.m. with a trivia session beginning at 6:40 p.m. and will take place in Battle High School’s Performing Arts Center.
“We have Chinese courses at 10 schools in CPS, and we wanted to give these students a chance to perform at this New Year’s celebration to practice their Chinese pronunciation and performance abilities,” Confucius Institute’s Chinese Director Dan Li said. “That’s one of the main purposes why we created this event.”
The Confucius Institute wants to work within a time frame of 90 minutes, amounting to a total of 14 performances. Each CPS Chinese class will perform one act, and four of the acts will be performed by the teachers only.
“During this whole planning process, our teachers have prepared a lot. Not only do they sing with the students, they’re also preparing performances that include poem recitation and traditional songs,” Li said. “These performances have allowed students to practice what they’ve been learning in class, as well as their Chinese pronunciation. Most classes have been preparing one or two months for this performance on Friday.”
[quote cite=”Dan Li”]We have Chinese courses at 10 schools in CPS, and we wanted to give these students a chance to perform at this New Year’s celebration to practice their Chinese pronunciation and performance abilities.[/quote] Junior Kelsey Toepke and senior Louis Youmans — both students enrolled in Chinese 1 at RBHS — will be the emcees of the event, with Youmans speaking in Chinese and Toepke translating all transitions between performances in English.
“It’s helped me with public speaking and learning how to project my voice, but also at the end of my speech, I have to say two sentences in Chinese,” Toepke said. It’s really nerve-wracking, but it’s really helping me improve my accuracy.
Students in Chinese 1 will be singing a traditional Chinese folk song, “Mo Li Hua”, which translates to Jasmine Flower, and students in Chinese 2 will be singing “Dui Bu Qi”, which translates to “I’m sorry”.
“The performance is helping me, but I already knew the song earlier because we sang it past years,” freshmen Lily Abraham said. “[Chinese has] been a little hard because you have to memorize the words and characters, so it’s a little bit harder than most languages, but it’s easy to get the hang of it once you start it.”
This is the second year RBHS is offering Chinese courses with teachers from the Confucius Institute and the first year teachers were able to open up a Chinese 2 course. Although it is the first time the Confucius Institute is hosting a Lunar New Year celebration, it certainly won’t be the last, according to Li. Along with this celebration, the Confucius Institute will also have a Lantern Festival later in the month.
“It’s really cool how Rock Bridge and CPS partnered with the Confucius Institute to teach students the different cultures,” Toepke said. “I feel like it’s good to have that different cultural experience.”