The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco in association with Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, Chinatown Community Development Center and Chinese Progressive Association present the 4th Annual Chinatown Music Festival on Saturday, August 17 from 11:00am to 5:00pm at Portsmouth Square on Kearny Street between Washington Street and Clay Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The cost is free and for more information, visit www.c-c-c.org or call (415) 986-1822.
The all day music festival will bring together San Francisco visitors and residents alike and will present the work of composer/pianist Jon Jang, the Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Sherlin Chan and the Star Valley Children’s Choir, and the rhythm and blues of Chinatown’s Jest Jammin’. Also featured will be crafts, games, and a new exhibit sharing the work of Hong Kong artist and 2013 Asian Cultural Council Fellow Lam Tung-pang in CCC’s gallery entitled The Curiosity Box.
The theme this year is “In the Spirit of Hopjok.” Hopjok is an expression meaning “cooperation” that references the Hopjok Fair in Chinatown in the 1970’s celebrating the community’s creativity and cohesiveness. Partnering with CCC once again will be the Chinatown Community Development Center, the Chinese Progressive Association, the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Asian Improv aRts and the API Cultural Center.
With over six million visitors a year, San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinese community outside of Asia, the oldest Chinatown in North America and a major catalyst for social, economic, artistic and cultural changes in America for more than 150 years. The Festival will personify the history of Chinatown and the ongoing Chinese-American experience of combining tradition and innovation with history and modernity. The Festival aims to foster a greater understanding of Chinatown, enhance tourism and convey the optimism and forward-looking perspective of the neighborhood.
Pianist/Composer Jon Jang’s ensemble will give an encore performance of Central Pacific, Central Subway commissioned as part of CCC’s Journey to Chinatown initiative funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission Central Subway Temporary Art Project. His ensemble will also perform a work-in-progress version of a new work commissioned by Asian Improv aRts to mark the centennial of the Alien Land Law. The Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibited aliens eligible for citizenship from owning agricultural land. It affected Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California but was primarily directed at the Japanese. Jang’s work will celebrate the court fight, Oyama v. State of California, by Fred Oyama to challenge this law.
The Marcus Shelby Orchestra will perform excerpts from Gwah Gai: Crossing the Street A Collaboration between Marcus Shelby, Musician, and Flo Oy Wong, Visual Artist Dramaturg, - Andi Wong. The piece was created in collaboration with the API Cultural Center with the support of a major grant from the Creative Work Fund and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Gwah Gai: Crossing the Street, the performance title, is derived from Flo Oy Wong's childhood in Oakland Chinatown, and references her efforts to “cross the street” to collaborate with members of the African American community. Marcus Shelby’s empathy as a human being who understands the impact of social justice for all Americans propels the writing of original music for Gwah Gai: Crossing the Street. He uses his music to inspire us as Americans to understand our similarities and to eradicate the fear of our differences. His talent as a musician weaves all elements of his being together to offer a musical gift inspired by the life of Edward K. Wong, Baby Jack. Marcus Shelby brings us together as people through the discordant melodies of our lives.
Led by the Rev. Norman Fong, Jest Jammin’ aka “Chinatown Soul Band”, has entertained the public for over 40 years. Historic in San Francisco’s Chinatown, and comprised of “home grown” talent, Jest Jammin’ is the last of the “Local Chinatown bands” from the 60’s and 70’s. They have been performing their wide repertoire of music from the soulful 60’s and 70’s, including tunes from recent decades. Jest Jammin’ can be seen in numerous venues throughout Northern California, from college campuses to large public functions.
Sherlin Chan and the Star Valley Children’s Choir has been active in the Bay area for almost seven years. Led by soprano Sherlin Chan., the Choir frequently participates in community activities and sponsors Christmas Concerts, Mother’s day concerts, concerts in Senior Centers, concerts in hospital in addition to its annual concert. Members of the Star Valley Children’s Choir come from all over the Bay area, some as far as Danville, San Jose and San Francisco. The Choir receives vocal training and performs traditional children choral songs, popular songs, and musical stage songs to broaden their musical interests. Through their participation in community services, they also developed a healthy, happy and meaningful childhood.
As a community historian, storyteller, and musician, Charlie Chin has been at the forefront of Asian American artistic expression since 1970. He will be performing an excerpt of Men Who Conquered Mountains, a work tells the story of the Chinese role in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The piece was commissioned as part of CCC’s Journey to Chinatown project in collaboration with the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum. He was the Community Education Director at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City and has continued his research and performances as the Artist-in-Residence at the Chinese Historical Society of America in San Francisco. He has published children’s books: China’s Bravest Girl (1992) and Clever Bird (1996); several of his plays, including A.B.C., American Born Chinese (1983), The Last Spirit Boxer (1992), and Hawaiian Sweethearts (2001) have been produced in Boston, New York City, and San Francisco.
Exploring Engagement Project
With the support of the James Irvine Foundation, the Chinese Culture Center, in collaboration with CPA, has created a cultural participation initiative in Chinatown designed to increase the involvement of immigrants and low-income workers in the arts. For the Chinatown Music Festival residency master artist Yangqin Zhao will direct a percussion ensemble of community participants. Zhao is one of the foremost performers on the Chinese hammered dulcimer otherwise known as the Yangqin and is the founder and artistic director of the renowned ensemble Melody of China.
Exhibition in the CCC Gallery
The Curiosity Box is an experiment originated in Lam Tung-pang’s apartment during his recent artist residency in the US. The project reflects the artist’s attempt to turn his living space into a creative lab for documenting and sharing his internal psyche with the public. Lam Tung-pang was born and currently lives in Hong Kong. He studied Fine Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, with an MA at Central St. Martins College of Art in London. He has been awarded numerous scholarship and awards, including Arts Scholarship from Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2003) and Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards (2009). Lam has exhibited worldwide and has exhibited in both private and public collections, including the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Deutsche Bank, and commissioned work by the Hong Kong Legislative Council. He is traveling in the U.S, on an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, producing work derived from his time within American cultural institutions and museums, and continuing to incorporate his knowledge and observations into his practice.
This project is made possible by the generous support of Grants for the Arts – Neighborhood Art Collaborative, San Francisco Arts Commission, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, James Irvine Foundation, Singtao Chinese Radio, Singtao Daily, Wells Fargo, Portsmouth Square Parking Garage Foundation.
4th Annual Chinatown Music Festival Schedule 11:00am – Opening Ceremony
11:25am-11:45am – Exploring Engagement Project
12:00pm-12:45pm – Jon Jang
1:00pm-1:15pm – Charlie Chin
1:30pm – 2:15pm – Jest Jammin’
2:30pm-3:20pm – Marcus Shelby Orchestra
3:35pm-4:00pm – Sherlin Chan and the Star Valley Children’s Choir
4:15pm-5:00pm – Jest Jammin
Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco 94108