An overview of my experiences this semester
Written by Edward Huang
The first performance I went to was a performance by Buddy Guy and his band. I did not know of him before, but I definitely can’t forget his name now. He brought an energy that was fitting for his legacy in the jazz world. I was completely encaptivated with his ability to control the auditorium. Not to mention, his technical skills were amazing and he did a good job with having a conversation with the audience. In the end, his passion was what stuck out to me.
The Mid-Autumn Festival was a new experience for me. I performed in it as a celebration of Asian cultures coming together and acknowledging the highlight of the year in fall. It celebrated the start of the Lunar New Year. I thought that it was an amazing way to being the campus community together for a cultural purpose. There was also merchandise and food that was being sold. The crowd was very supportive when I performed and I felt like it was a great event to emphasize the inclusion of all.
Chris Botti’s visit to Urbana-Champaign was perhaps one of the most memorable performances for me. I really appreciated the way that he liked to blend different music styles together. He was a jazz and blues trumpeter, yet in his band, he included Anastasia Mazurok, a violinist. The pieces that she performed with the band were my favorite. Not only was it beautiful, but it was an example of how different music genres could be put together to create something amazing. I remember leaving that performance with a renewed passion for jazz and classical music.
“Home” by Geoff Sobelle was the most unique play that I’ve ever watched. It started off with an air of mystery, with no one knowing what to expect. The stage was simply set, but soon, I was able to watch as everything was built in front of me. I felt like I could look into the lives of every character and feel them as they rode out the waves of their lives. Towards the finale, members of the audience were invited to go onto stage to celebrate their own stories of their homes. I thought that this was an extraordinary way of creating a strong bond with the actors.
Motion through Art was a completely new experience for me. I had never experienced any form of art in this way. Jennifer Monson is world-renowned in the world of contemporary dance and it was really fun to interpret art as she did–through movement. We started with a meditation activity that got us oriented to direction. After, I was able to analyze a piece of art with a stranger. Though I didn’t know him before, I felt like him and I had a deep, intangible connection afterwards because of how we supported each other through our art analysis. Overall, this event was truly eye-opening.
Gem of the Ocean was a play that I had not heard of before, but it gave me a feeling that was entirely different from all the other events. Watching the characters’ lives play out in front of us in that time period really let me feel their struggles. Each character had a distinct rule and personality. I felt especially attached to Aunt Esther. She was wise, loving, and caring. She also gave great life advice that I still remember to this day. There were a lot of morals to learn from this performance.
If I’m honest, Tiger was a very weird experience for me. I had no idea what to expect, but all I saw was a man in a ranger costume. He switched between personalities and talked about tigers from different points of view. At some point in the presentation, he made the audience stand up a chant for him while he “summoned” the “Great Tiger”. That’s when it got a bit too weird for me. I wasn’t really sure what the purpose of the performance was, but it was a unique experience to say the least.
This has been an amazing semester filled with experiences that brought to me a new view of art and how it should be expressed. Before attending any of the events, I was an appreciator of performance, but now, I can truly appreciate the deep meaning behind each performance and how to analyze what I felt as I watched them.