Enter the "Year of the Dragon" at Middle Tennessee State University with a musical event to celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year.
MTSU's Office of International Affairs, Center for Asian Studies and the Center for Chinese Music and Culture will present "Heralding the Dragon," a free concert set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, in Hinton Hall inside the Wright Music Building at 1439 Faulkinberry Drive on campus.
Festivities will begin with a reception in Hinton Hall lobby at 2 p.m., followed by the concert.
Performers include the Middle Tennessee Mingzheng Chinese Music School and the MTSU Chinese Music Ensemble under the direction of Mei Han, founding director of the MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture. Other guest musicians include MTSU's visiting scholars Zhang Jianhua and Lyujing Liu, as well as Randy Raine-Reusch and Xin Nie.
The performance will end with a dragon parade by MTSU students and led by Guanping Zheng, director of MTSU's Center for Asian Studies.
Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, is the most important holiday in several East Asian countries, marking the start of the 28-day Chinese lunar calendar with public celebrations and family reunions.
Lunar New Year 2024 begins on Feb. 10, kicking off the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac.
According to legend, 12 animals were invited to a party given by the Jade Emperor to determine the order of the zodiac signs. The dragon was the fifth to arrive, having stopped along the way to bring rain to some farmers whose plants were dying of drought, and to help the rabbit, who was trying to cross the river on a log.
The dragon, throughout Chinese history and culture, has long been considered a symbol of strength, justice, good luck and prosperity. Experts are predicting a year of growth and innovation for this Year of the Dragon.
MTSU cultural centers
The MTSU Chinese Music Ensemble, directed by Han, is a registered course open to the entire student body offered by the School of Music. The ensemble strives to broaden cultural horizons with hands-on practice and learning of Chinese instruments. Last year, the Ensemble was invited to perform at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., North Georgia University and Western Kentucky University.
The MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture is the only center of its kind in North America. The CCMC's mission is to engage regional, national and global communities in discussions of China's rich and diverse musical and cultural traditions. The center, located in MTSU's Miller Education Center at 503 E. Bell St., includes a gallery of Chinese musical instruments. For more information on the center and its activities, visit www.mtsu.edu/chinesemusic.
The Center for Asian Studies, also located at Miller, was established in 2009 with the mission to support and initiate efforts to make international education at MTSU an integrated and collaborative effort. The center offers group and individual noncredit courses on the Chinese language for all ages and skill levels. Visit www.mtsu.edu/asianstudies for details.
The Office of International Affairs provides support for MTSU's international engagements, with a mission to provide leadership for the comprehensive internationalization of MTSU by fostering growth and development of international programs and services. The office serves students who study abroad, international students that study at MTSU, and the faculty and staff who support them. To learn more, visit www.mtsu.edu/intered.