East Asian Festival returns to JCU

October 7th, 2010

John Carroll University East Asian Studies program invited local high school students to join them for the annual East Asian Festival. The event served an opportunity for those in attendance to learn more about the newly created East Asian studies major as well as Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture. 

The celebration took place on Monday, Oct. 4 in the Dolan Atrium. 

Pamela Mason, director of East Asian Studies, along with Roger Purdy, coordinator of East Asian studies, helped to put on an event for the community.

“It [East Asian Studies] increases awareness on campus,” said Purdy. The number of foreign exchange students on campus varies by semester.

Prudy saw this as a good way to connect with those who come to JCU to study abroad.

 “This is the first year that we can add East Asian studies meet your major to the festival because it is official,” said sophomore Rebecca Secula, an East Asian studies major.

Mason gave a talk to a group of high school students about the new major. 

“[We’re] excited about prospective students,” said Mason. 

The festival is a way for high school students to explore their options, through continuing their studies at a higher level of education.

“It attracts students throughout the University,” Mason said. “It doesn’t so much compete with other majors as it compliments them.”

While academics were addressed, culture was a large component of the festival. Tofu, vegetable rice, and potatoes were just some of the foods that were offered at the festival, which was purchased from Korea House and Flying Cranes. 

Along with food, there was a Korean martial arts performing group, a Taiko drumming group, Yume Daiko, and Tai Chi instructed by Dorina Shen. The festival also offered flower arranging, called Ikebana, with instructors from local chapter Ikebana International. 

Attendants moved to Saint Francis Chapel for a special presentation by the Orchid Ensemble. The performance was sponsored the East Asian Studies Program and Liturgical Music and Musical Arts.  

The Orchid Ensemble utilizes ancient musical instruments to musically depict the culture and traditions of China, India and beyond.  The members of The Orchid Ensemble, Lan Tung, Haiqiong Deng and Jonathan Bernard combined erhu, vocals, zheng, marimba and percussion. 

The ensemble has toured throughout North America and is known for commissioning musical pieces from both Canadian and United States composers for their performance. 

At their performance, the musical group played eight pieces representing different aspects of mainly Chinese culture.  Throughout the presentation, the group members informed the audience about the background of the songs and traditions behind the lyrics.

Many of the compositions were dedicated to the moon, clouds and flowers which, as explained by the group members, is custom in China. Some songs that followed this tradition were, “Dancing Moon,” “Harvest Season,” and “Xiao He Tang Shui.”