Concert in Chicago celebrates China-US friendship, collaboration

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Thousands of audience packed the downtown Chicago Symphony Center Sunday afternoon for a concert celebrating the friendship and collaboration between China and the United States.

Titled "Friendship Lasts Forever," the concert, the 3rd edition of its kind, started with "Festive in Village," a popular Chinese orchestra music, played on Western musical instruments with an energetic tone.

During the two-hour concert, Chinese and U.S. soloists took the stage in turn to present the audience with performances in English, Chinese and Italian.

The concert concluded with choir and bands singing "America, the Beautiful" and "Friendship Lasts Forever (Auld Lang Syne)."

"The concert is not only for the enjoyment of performances, but also the sharing of different cultures," said Jan Zheng, chair of the Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago and major organizer of the concert.

Among popular pieces presented were "Ode to the Yellow River" by Xian Xinghai, "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven, "Eulogize the Yangtze" by Yu Jianfang, and "The Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Chamber Concert Band and the Herald Trumpets of Valparaiso University, and the Windiana Concert Band performed dances of Chinese ethnic minorities with more than 500 people.

"This is our 3rd concert in Chicago," said Meng Jianyun, director of the Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University.

Different from previous years' concerts which featured band and orchestra music, this year's concert focused more on choral music, Meng said.

"The concert is amazing," said 67-year-old Claudia Santin from River Forest, a suburban village adjacent to Chicago. "I really like the variety of programs and the singing in different languages."

Elizabeth Dellegrazie, 54 years old from Oak Brook, joined in. "I love the 'Autumn Melody'."

Jose Bachman, 41, came all the way from Valparaiso in Indiana with his wife to attend the concert. Their daughter sang in the Valparaiso High School Choir.

"The concert is such a great collaboration between the East and the West," Bachman said. "It's wonderful to see the next generation carrying on the torch." 

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