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'Messiah' & the Miao
The Miao minority people traveled
from their mountain home to perform the 'Hallelujah Chorus' with
Consort Caritatis. This was their first contact with foreigners,
other than the missionaries who had taught them Handel's 'Messiah'.
For over one hundred years they had passed down this masterpiece
of western civilization by oral tradition, until early in 1999,
when they had attempted to write it down for the first time.
Following the performance with the Canadian choir, the Miao people
began singing, "Dear friends, it was so wonderful to meet you,
and now we must say goodbye, but, one day we shall meet you again
There was not a dry eye in the provincial television station that
morning, as the choir responded with, Our God from whom all
Amidst tearful goodbyes, IFA's classical music director presented
the Miao with two new scores of 'Messiah', which they joyfully received.
They in turn presented Howard Dyck with a signed copy of their oral
Maio leader recieving new scores
Governor thanks performers.
The '99 Kunming International Festival of the Arts was IFA's third and
most extensive cultural exchange to date. Titled "Ode to Joy",
it drew almost three hundred artists, educators, and other participants
from twenty countries and five continents. Over four hundred Chinese artists
participated in this historic event.
Kunming, the host city, has a population of over two million and is the
political, economic, and cultural center of Yunnan Province. Yunnan is
home to over forty million people, including more than half of China's
55 minority peoples.
The International Arts Festival was an official part of Expo '99 and took
place in partnership with the Yunnan Provincial Government, the Cultural
Ministry, and the Communist Party. IFA also partnered with a China-based
organization with a shared focus and methodology.
Welcome at airport
Welcome to China!
Festival participants were overwhelmed at the tumultuous welcome they
received upon arrival in China. They were greeted by government and cultural
officials, television crews, journalists, and a variety of different minority
peoples singing and dancing in full costume. Students of the prestigious
Yunnan Arts Institute also honored and welcomed the international guests
by hosting a special evening of minority cultural expressions.
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