Upper School Attends "Chinese New Year Spectacular" with David Ma
On January 23, 2007, the Tower Hill Upper School community had the opportunity to attend a rare cultural event: the New Tang Dynasty Television Chinese New Year Spectacular.
This performance was all the more special to Tower Hill because it
included the artistic talents of Tower Hill student David Ma. David, formerly of the Class of '08,
has taken a one year sabbatical from his studies at Tower Hill in order to
dance in the show, and will resume his academic career at THS with the Class of
'09 next September. In the meantime, David will tour with the NTDTV dance
troupe as they travel to international destinations to exhibit their talents.
When the school found out that David Ma would be coming to perform in
Philadelphia for two nights this January, the administration with help from
David’s parents and other resources purchased tickets for the entire Upper
School student body and the faculty so that the entire community could
appreciate David's special abilities.
Chinese New Year Spectacular was a showcase of China's rich culture and strong
tradition in the performing arts, featuring orchestral music, instrumental
soloists, singing, and, of course, the dance. The show had a broad repertoire,
which reflected the long and complex history of the Chinese nation. The topics
of the performances ranged from ancient Chinese folk-myths that celebrated
Buddhist cave art and the legend of Mulan to contemporary issues facing China
today, such as songs denouncing the brutal repression of the 1989 Tianamen
Square student protests, and the ongoing opression of practioners of the Falun
Gong religious order. Traditional Chinese beliefs in the importance of duty to
one's family and service to the nation mixed with modern desires for religious
liberty and renewed commitments to the virtues of faith, hope, and truth, even
in the face of great adversity. The performance also included works celebrating
the contributions of non-Chinese ethnicities to the multitudinous culture of
China itself, such as the Manchus, the Tibetans, and the Mongols.There was no
shortage of fascinating displays of talent in the course of the show.
Beautifully coordinated dance routines by large numbers of performers, several
solo performances by skilled vocal artists and musicians on traditional Chinese
instruments, and lively orchestral accompaniment made for a entertaining
The finale of the evening's program consisted of an extraordinary
spectacle of musicianship in which a formation of dances simultaneous played
drums slung across their front and back in a complicated rhythm.The show was
an illuminating experience for the students and the faculty alike. We gained
new insight into the culture of China thanks to the talents of our fellow Tower
Hiller, David Ma. We all look forward to his return to Tower Hill next fall,
when he can share with us his reflections on his unique experience.