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Music builds bridge between Chinese, Manteca students

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Music builds bridge between Chinese, Manteca students

Students from the Beijing YiZhuang School Choir perform Chinese folk songs onstage Wednesday at Woodward School.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED January 16, 2014 1:32 a.m.

Music is a universal language.

Evident of that was a special concert Wednesday by the children chorus of Beijing YiZhuang School as performed at Manteca Unified’s Woodward School.

“It was important that our students also perform,” said Kimberly Wright, MUSD’s Director of Risk Management.

She made possible the performance involving the two cultures.

“Woodward has one of the largest bands and choir (in MUSD) and the principal (Sherrie Jamero) was more than gracious to host the concert,” said Wright.

Bob Krueger, Music Coordinator of MUSD, along with Woodward music teacher Shannon Beattie and Veritas School music teacher Mike Mulidor also made possible the joint concert.

The group from Beijing included over 40 youngsters, ranging in age 8 through 11. They had just arrived in Manteca, spending most of the day traveling from mainland China to San Francisco.

“That’s only part of the group,” said Wright, who indicated that over 100 between the ages of 12 through 17 will be performing at Lathrop High next week (Thursday, Jan. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.).

All told, over 150 students from three Beijing schools made it on this trip.

“We’ve been coming (to Manteca) for several years,” said Ming Zuo, president of Angel International Exchange.

Founded in 1997 in San Francisco, this organization is a cultural exchange program involving China and U.S.

“Our students are excited to be here,” said organizer Frank Chi. “Music is a bridge of our friendship – it connected us tonight.”

Principal Jamero agreed, calling it an “amazing, amazing experience.”

Today (Thursday), her school is scheduled to once again feature the Beijing YiZhuang youngsters in two assemblies. From there, the visitors will spend time in the classroom with a chance to assimilate with the U.S. culture.

Under the direction of Tian Yan Lin and Chen Sai on piano, Beijing YiZhuang choir performed several selections including various renditions of Jingle Bells.

Woodward and Veritas students enjoyed the medley, clapping, swinging, and dancing to the tune of the classic Christmas carol.

The program also included a dance performance of “The Beautiful Girl,” a flute ensemble to “Butterfly Lovers (Romeo and Juliette),” and a piano ensemble to “Thunder in Dry Season.”

Beijing youngsters, in addition, invited students from Woodward and Veritas on stage while performing “If You Are Happy.”

After a long day, the young Beijing group – included was a staff of eight – departed from Woodward to none other than the Golden Arches for dinner.

“The children love to eat at McDonald’s,” said Chi.

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