Hundreds gather for a celebration of Asian culture at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Written by Edward Huang
On Friday, September 13, students from all over UIUC gathered on the main quad to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid Autumn Festival is a holiday that originated in ancient China. It is a celebration of the Lunar New Year, because Chinese culture placed heavy emphasis on the moon in their culture. The event, however, was hosted by the Vietnamese Student Association and was open to the public. Guests were able to enjoy cultural performances as well as food from different Asian backgrounds.
I look forward to watching Chris Botti before the start of it because I’ve always been interested in Jazz music and I heard Chris Botti is a famous Jazz musician playing the trumpet. Every year, I watch a few music performance and I must say I love each of them when I was watching.
When I sat on my seat and started waiting for the show to begin, I started thinking all the performances I watched before and relating them with the show I was about to watch that night. So, basically, I was trying to remember my own experiences with Jazz music. However, the show turned out to be completely different from what I imagined. The Jazz music Chris Botti and his band played was more modern instead of traditional music, and it is exactly where I want to start describing my favorite part of the show. The part that made me feel that the music was more modern was the drummer. He was highly excited and active and there was a part for his single play. Every one was hyped by his performance and he was doing all kinds of tricks with the drummer and making me feel beautiful. Also, I found other people around me start moving their bodies and it seemed like everyone was dancing during a show we’re supposed to sit quietly.
Chris Botti’s interaction with the audience was another point that I noticed. His interaction with the audience was similar with Buddy Guy, because they both walked off the floor and played the instruments. Chris Botti walked towards the audience started moving along the road, and finally stopped by the middle of it. He started playing with himself standing there and making eye contacts with the audience around him. I feel his interactions were hard to ignore and we became even more concentrated when he did that. In addition to the physically interactions, Chris Botti talked a lot to the audience about his stories and the introductions of his band members. Chris’ amusing tone entertained all of us that day and it was one of the reasons that made the show a success.
I enjoyed Chris Botti’s performance, and all the other musicians’ as well. They form a band that perfectly assist each other during the performance with music and movements. All the performances I watched before has a band that played together, but Chris allowed every band members to have their own moments to show their unique personalities.
Chris Botti was an amazing show for me, and I would never forget him, even though I never heard him before. To be honest, it’s probably hard for me to watch his performance again, but I will link the show to my memory and I will never forget him when I think of art in the future.
I had seen a role of drag queen, Angel, in a musical named RENT before I saw this performance. I thought I knew the drag queens very well and I suppose them to be positive, bold, not afraid of gender obstruction, and brave in pursuing love and freedom. However, I didn’t really get to know them until I saw Sasha Velour.
I was inspired by the enthusiasm of people as the show started and it is clear that Sasha Velour has lots of fans here. At the moment she appeared, the screams of the audience drowned me. The first thing that surprised me was her style, a white robe, like an angel. But soon when Sasha Velour spoke, I was shocked by her apparently trained opera aria, and even began to speculate whether she had sung in the opera house. Unexpectedly, however, the transition between angel and demon was only a few seconds. When Sasha Velour picked up her white robe and revealed the red flash tights below, the whole theatre was boiling. After completely removing the white robe, she was red with the whole body, just like the real devil. This powerful contrast shocked me a lot.
After each scene was finished, Sasha Velour would take the microphone out to talk to us. It has to be admitted that Sasha Velour was very humorous and infectious. The audience naturally loved her very much and always gave enthusiastic responses.
During the break, I walked out and heard someone saying, “This is a wonderful design, isn’t it?” In fact, I have been thinking about this issue as well. Sasha Velour had incredible art talent. She turned the dress into an art, so that the performance was full of dramatic tension, and the stage background was like an unruly illustration. All of Sasha Velour’s dresses were exaggerated in color and full of transsexual style, unlike the stereotypes worn by people in the past. I believe that she must be a person who was deeply accomplished in the visual arts.
In fact, my favorite aria in the performance was that Sasha Velour’s projection on the stage screen drew a beautiful makeup, wore a waist and a red dress, put on monster ears, and appeared at the entrance of the theater in the next moment, singing “I want to fly, I am alive” and stepping down the steps to the stage. The shock of my heart at that moment could not be described in words. Everyone started to scream but I was moved to say nothing but almost wept. I really fell for this song and until I was out of the theater, I still tried to recall it.
My mind was filled with different screaming music and scenes, but I could not forget the emotion of Sasha Velour when she talked about her mother who died of cancer. Several viewers around me began to wipe their tears. When Sasha Velour sang “If you go away”, I finally couldn’t help to cry. In the last scene, she took a bite of an apple. When the light was dark, I found that the apple had moved away from her hand and went further afield. I enjoyed the quality of even the most insignificant details of this performance.
This was a performance of a drag queen, but was more of a queer monologue. Sasha Velour opened her mind, showing us her past and inner journey. She constantly emphasized that we could live more beautifully, more uniquely, and more freely. To live a true life, we should learn to love, to have our own strength and know who we are.
On September 14, at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Chris Botti featuring Lee Pearson, Reggie Hamilton, Leonardo Amuedo, Holger Marjamaa, Andy Snitzer, Anastasiia Mazurok, Sy Smith, and Rafael Moras; performed an amazing mixture of what a friend called “aggressive elevator music” which in reality was Jazz mixed with Classical.
On Saturday the 14th, Chris Botti came to perform in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, and along with him he brought an equally talented Violinist, Pianist, Drummer, and even a Saxophone player. These weren’t just background performers, however. I feel as if Chris Botti did an amazing job as highlighting them as individual artists that went along with his own trumpet playing.
I feel as my favorite part of Chris Botti’s performance was how incredibly powerful he sounded as a trumpet player. It felt as if every note he played echoed throughout the auditorium as we watched him lean into every breath he took through his instrument. His interaction with the crowd was equally amazing. I feel as if the audience had a sort of “moment” when he stepped down to talk to us. It gave the whole interaction a much more personal feel, something I haven’t experienced in concert.
Overall, Chris Botti had great complementary artists, greater sound, and an enthusiastic crowd. You could tell how invested we were from our constant applause, and I feel like Chris Botti delivered a performance worthy of such. There is a stereotype that trumpet players are very prideful, yet Chris Botti has shown us that is simply not true.
On September 14th, Chris Botti performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts with a group of talented jazz musicians. The powerful music filled Tryon Festival Center and took a variety of tempos, tones, and styles to transform this performance into something special.
Chris Botti performed a series of Jazz with his band at Night in Krannert Center.
Wai Chuen Chan 9/17/2019
On September 14, Chris Botti featuring Lee Pearson, Reggie Hamilton, Leonardo Amuedo, Holger Marjamaa, Andy Snitzer, Anastasiia Mazurok, Sy Smith, and Rafael Moras, performed a series of Jazz music including Botti’s album with diverse musical instruments at Tryon Festival Theatre in Krannert Center.