Manhu in Flint, Michigan

By Shigeyo Henriquez

We arrived in Flint early evening of Sunday Oct 8. As we were checking in to the hotel I received a call from David Fraher. He had arrived in Flint to meet Manhu.

David invited us to a local Chinese restaurant where we had a delicious dinner. Friendly conversation was exchanged. Manhu appreciated David’s visit and his support.

We had great turn-out at the Flint community reception at The Whiting. Manhu’s acappella blessing song moved everyone. The meaning of the song and Manhu’s passionate and emotional strength of singing always amazes people. Audiences offered a nice round of applause. As the gathering went by people started to ask questions about Manhu’s childhood life, music and dance culture, their impression of US. Manhu is proud to share their heritage, culture and experiences in the US. Flint is the 5th and last community in this 5 weeks tour. Manhu will put their extra energy to complete the tour here in Flint.

Workshop at Youth Quest Program which is after school program and provides curriculum assistance, sports, music and band activities. Brownell Holms high school students sat on the bean bags and listened.

Youth Quest program for K-5th grades. They are acting as a tiger holding its claws up.

Youth Quest program at Potter Elementary School. Each member of Manhu introduce themselves in Chinese and Josh translates, but Gao Wei introduces himself in English. “Hi, I’m Gao Wei. How are you?” Several boys sitting on the floor with puzzled look and asked “What? Your name is Go Away?” Gao Wei said “No No, Not go away. Gao Wei.” We all burst into a big laughter. During the workshop Josh teaches a few Chinese words. Hello is “Ni Hao,” Thank you is “XieXie” and Yes is “Dui.” The same boys repeated “Do it!” Again Gao Wei corrected “No, not Do it, it’s Dui.” Another big laugh.

Youth Quest program at Randels Elementary School Students acting as tigers with no eyes.

Workshop at the University of Michigan-Flint for first Year Arts Experience class. An hour class is presented with Sani legend, ethnic songs and introduction of each instruments in detail and the region of Stone Forest in Yunnan Province. Students and professor lined up and dance to left foot dance.

Group photo of Manhu and students of University of Michigan-Flint.

The Chinese students from Kettering University came to Whiting for an hour workshop and conversation with Manhu. The workshop was conducted mostly in Chinese.

Manhu performs the final concert at the beautiful Whiting Auditorium. I have been in this Auditorium about 10 years ago and again I’m so astounded by this magnificent facility, seating capacity of 2,043, opened in 1967. It brings major performances and concerts.

Wong Tao and Jin Hongmei sing the legendary story of Ashuma. Their traditional costumes are hand woven linen, hand stitched and embroidered. Women wear beautiful ornate dress and head piece. At the end as we always have done, Josh invites the audience to participate in dancing in Sani people’s traditional music. Singing and Dancing is inclusive of everyone and is not intended to be a performance or show. People stood up with no hesitation and danced with Manhu.

Sunday, October 15, Manhu went back to China after 5.5 weeks in the US. They are missed!

Comments

David Fraher’s visits are always a treat for the artists he does so much to support. Sofi and the Baladis were fortunate to start their tour – about the same time that Manhu ended their five-week tour – with both David Fraher and Ken Carlson joining us in North Dakota. We look forward to seeing them again soon!

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