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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Beauty and Melody

On Friday, Oct. 23 the International Performing Arts Series will be featuring Beauty and Melody: Chinese Dance and Music Group. The group consists of an all-female ensemble from China’s Sichuan Province. Incorporating vivid costumes, song and dance, they perform music ranging from traditional Chinese pieces, to contemporary works from around the world.

According to Beauty and Melody tour manager, Shigeyo Henriquez, the group was formed in 2004 and consists of approximately 16 musicians, all formally trained in music.

“[Many] have master’s degrees in music,” she said. “They’re very meticulous. The timing and clearness of the sound is so perfect.”

According to Henriquez, the performance will consist of music in three parts: music from the ethnic minorities in China, Traditional Chinese music, and contemporary world music

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“I wish I could really describe their music and dance but it really is beyond anything I’ve ever heard or seen before,” said Dan Truckey, Director of the Beaumier Heritage Center. The Beaumier Heritage Center oversees the NMU’s International Performing Arts Series.

“It really is exotic and beautiful and sometimes even avant-garde, even though they are playing songs that are two thousand years old or older. It really is amazing and exciting stuff. I think that people will be blown away by their show,” Truckey said.

The instruments used by Beauty and Melody include traditional Chinese percussion, string, woodwinds, and plucking instruments.

According to Cai Lingyun, English interpreter for Beauty and Melody, many traditional instruments are made out of materials such as bamboo.

“Most Chinese instruments are made with natural materials,” she said.

According to Henriquez, about 60 years ago, an ancient tomb was discovered in China, dating back to about one thousand years ago. Inside this tomb, were 24 beautiful statues of female musicians, evidence of an all-female ensemble with the specific purpose of entertaining the court. An all-female ensemble such as this was rare, and the discovery inspired the formation of a contemporary one.

“Based on that fact, they created this ensemble – Beauty and Melody,” Henriquez said.

The Performing Arts Series began in the 1980s and has been extremely successful since then. Two years ago, it was decided to make it the International Performing Arts Series in order to expand international programs and education offered here at Northern. As part of the program, the series arranges opportunities for performers to interact with people in the area.

“Whenever we bring performers to Marquette, we always try to have a workshop or two with students at Northern or the general public,” Truckey said. “It’s a way for the artists to interact with students in a more intimate way and where there can be an interchange of ideas.”

Beauty and Melody has been especially active in interacting with the community. Since they arrived a week before their scheduled performance, they have been conducting workshops both on campus and at area schools.

“We are very excited to have the exchange with local people and especially students,” Lingyun said. This is their third visit to the United States, she said. The have performed in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Beauty and Melody has extended this exchange beyond their workshops, to get as much interaction with local people as possible. They have even been active with certain classes on campus. They have been to both a Music and Society class and an Elementary Chinese class, where they helped students with their conversational Chinese skills. This also gave Beauty and Melody the opportunity to practice their English.

“It was really cool and a great extension of their appearance at Northern,” Truckey said.

The performance is collaboration between Arts Midwest, a nonprofit arts organization promoting arts in the Midwest, and the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Lingyun said. In 2008, Northern Michigan University lobbied to be part of the Arts Midwest World Fest for the 2009-2011 series. One town in each Midwestern state is selected to receive these groups and Marquette was chosen as the Michigan location for the 2009-2011 series.

“As with all the groups we bring to Northern, the mission is to really bring the world to Marquette. It’s an opportunity for people in the community and students at Northern to hear music from many different parts of the world and also get to meet these performers as well,” Truckey said. “In the end, it’s about giving students at Northern a truly university experience, learning about different cultures and also how we also have so much in common.”

The performance will be held at the Forest Roberts Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students and $20 for the general public.

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