Chorus performs Party history to villagers

By Xu Xiaoxuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 10, 2021
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Members of the Xinyi Chorus sing to villagers in Gaotang county, east China's Shandong province, May 28, 2021. [Photo provided to]

"We integrate the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) into our performances. For example, by narrating the major events in the Party's century-long journey in a clapper talk over a few minutes," said 72-year-old Zhang Zhihou, head of the Xinyi Chorus, as other members sang for locals in Guguantun village, Gaotang county in east China's Shandong province.

The Xinyi Chorus is a group of singers and performers established in 2015. It's comprised of more than 50 former government employees, music teachers, factory workers and art lovers, who are mostly retirees ranging from 56 to 76 years old who are local to Gaotang county.

"The purpose of the chorus is to spread positivity and eulogize the new era under such values as entertainment, dedication, harmony and hard work," Zhang explained.

The Xinyi Chorus is more than a group of singers. They incorporate dancing, clapper talks — a form of Chinese narrative singing accompanied by a pair of clappers — and even traditional Yu opera into its wide repertoire, some of which are self-penned and directed. The group likes to keep its performances in tune with the times and current domestic affairs, incorporating such topics as China's poverty alleviation triumph and the centenary of the CPC's founding.

For example, a clapper talk created by the chorus recounts the landmark events in the Party's century-long history, including the Long March, the founding of the People's Republic of China, reform and opening-up, poverty elimination campaign, fight against COVID-19, 14th Five-Year Plan, and Chinese Dream.

The group often performs in the villages, communities, schools and nursing homes in Gaotang. "About once a week, we invite the Xinyi Chorus or other art groups to put on shows. We make an announcement through the loudspeakers and the villagers come," said Wang Le from a sub-district office of Gaotang. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding, the group's shows are largely centered around the Party's history. In this way, the Party's development can be presented while providing entertainment for the villagers, Wang added.

"I come to watch the performances whenever I'm free," said a villager surnamed Liu. "I'm a Party member and I feel obliged to know more about how it has come to be what it is today."

All the expenses of the chorus, including the costumes, instruments, props and travel, are covered by the group members themselves. "Instead of idling our days away after retirement, we want to play our part in displaying the Party's development to our fellow townspeople and enriching their cultural lives. We feel happier and healthier while bringing some joy to others," Zhang said.

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