The amazing culture of the most populous nation in the world is coming to Tamaqua three weeks from now.
The Schuylkill County community will play host to 50 performers of the U.S. debut of the song, dance and music of the People's Republic of China, the land of 1.3 billion people.
The international showcase will arrive in the community on Thursday, Nov. 4, as part of a monthlong tour the troupe's American debut and the show will be presented free to the public at 6:30 p.m. in the Tamaqua Area Auditorium.
'Colorful China' is called "a magnificent showcase of the exquisite costumes, dances, singing, instruments and the rich fabric of ethnicity of China." The group is being presented by the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Washington, D. C., together with World Artists Experiences, or WAE.
WAE is an all-volunteer organization committed to developing a vital role of the arts in building bridges of international understanding.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience is being made possible through local contacts at an East Coast venue where the troupe is scheduled to appear.
June Krell-Salgado, a graduate of Tamaqua Area High School, is cultural affairs director at the University of Salisbury, Salisbury, Md., where Colorful China will be featured on Oct. 27. In her professional capacity, Krell-Salgado works with Betty McGinnis of the WAE, and the two were able to arrange for the Tamaqua appearance.
To make it happen, Krell-Salgado contacted Ruth Gardiner, TAHS principal, who enlisted the support of Bernadette Griffiths of Hometown, who is busy making local arrangements.
The president of the Tamaqua Area School Board, Larry Wittig, and Superintendent of Schools Carol Makuta were contacted by organizers in order to secure permission for use of the auditorium for the event.
As a result, arts, dance and music lovers are encouraged to witness the event and no tickets are required.
"The program is free to the public since the performers are here on a cultural exchange visa," explained Griffiths. On the evening of the performance, the lobby will host an exhibit of Chinese art and ethnic costumes.
Griffiths said many of the details are still being worked on. She currently is soliciting the public's help and cooperation to give the Chinese visitors a warm Tamaqua welcome.
"I am currently speaking to local eateries to donate food for the performers for after the performance," she said.
Griffiths also would like to enlist the help of the Tamaqua Historical Society in providing a history of the area when the troupe arrives in town.
The group is expected to visit Depot Square Park and enjoy a meal at a local eatery prior to their rehearsal in the auditorium.
The performance is expected to last about 90 minutes and will provide local residents a unique opportunity to witness the culture of China.
"Prior to their performance in Tamaqua, they will have performed at Johns Hopkins University and Drew University," says Griffiths. "After their time in Tamaqua, they will finish out their tour in the United States at Lincoln Center in New York City."
The diverse and colorful program will highlight the 56 ethnic groups of China, with spectacular costumes of bright colors, unique and sophisticated styles, and deep cultural meanings.
Additionally, the dances and music will exhibit the highly detailed beauty of each ethnic group.
The program is derived from extensive research, collection and preservation of the ethnic groups via the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology.
Almost all ethnic groups in China have their own language, religion, music, dance, architecture and art forms. All of their festivals, weddings, customs, foods, costumes, sports, medicine, crafts and literature represent respectively the ethnic tradition and people's industry and wisdom.
The group has performed in major venues throughout Asia and Europe. Audiences leave with an appreciation of China's deep heritage, large land, many ethnic groups, and diversified country.
The hope for these performances is to boost cultural communication between the United States and China and to learn together from the experience of two nations who have large ethnic diversity.
Those wanting to help and those needing additional information may contact Griffiths at (570) 668-5191.