May the River of Culture and Tradition Flow Endlessly
Today, we are happily celebrating the 19th Annual Concert for the San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society.
Looking back, time has flown by. In the past 19 years, San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society has nurtured a 2nd generation of teachers, many of whom are leading their students in today’s performance. Thinking back to when first I arrived in this country with no idea of what the future will hold for me to the accomplishment in front of me today, it leaves me with an immeasurable sense of pride and satisfaction. We have grown into a Society encompassing many generations from young and old, creating a vibrant tradition of gu-zheng music in the Bay Area.
All things in this world will fade with time except for cultural traditions. Since the beginnings of civilization up to the modern society of today, culture is like a river, flowing continuously and endlessly. However, cultural traditions need to be passed on from one generation to the next, without which it will be lost and the river will cease to flow. To truly understand and develop this cultural tradition, a tremendous sense of commitment, passion and integrity is necessary. In order to achieve any depth, we need to start from the basics. As in learning the gu-zheng, one needs to start with the correct finger positioning and movement, with the strict adherence to the rhythm of each note, and with the motivation to comprehend each and every piece until musical expression is achieved. From simple to difficult, this is a precious experience to better one’s understanding of culture and its traditions.
We are very fortunate to have invited the students of Ms. Li, Lin Hong’s Pipa ensemble, the students of Mr. Huen Moon Yan from the Chinese Arts Association of America, and the students from the Chinese Folk Dance Association that are taught by various teachers, to display their talents today. Many of these students are 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese born Americans. It is the commitment of these talented individuals practicing endless hours, their parents’ devotion to Chinese culture and tradition, and the outstanding teachers that make possible what you will be enjoying here today. These three factors, commitment, persistence and talent, are like drops of morning mist forming into a dewdrop, shining on today’s stage. Don’t underestimate each droplet. It is with the combined collection of these drops that help keep the river of culture and tradition flow endlessly!
Weishan Liu Executive Director San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society