Multi Voices One Heart: Celebrating Canada 150 in Cantonese Opera

Co-presenters: Toronto Lau Wing Chuen Chinese Performing Arts Association, U Sing Cantonese Opera Pavilio

Vancouver – May 1, 2017 – This innovative trans-Pacific heritage project involves artists and community leaders from three cities – Toronto, Vancouver and Hong Kong– linked by the rich history of Chinese migration to Canada and the resultant exchange of people and culture among them. To mark the 150th anniversary of Canada and Ontario, a group of Cantonese opera lovers from these three cities has decided to put together an ambitious project named “Multi Voices One Heart: Celebrating Canada 150 in Cantonese Opera” which involves three components:

(a) Canada 150 theme song contest in Cantonese Opera style – Open to people in the Chinese Diaspora. Submission deadline: May 31, 2017. For details and application form, please visit “mvoh.online”.
(b) Cantonese Opera artistic demo/talk and concert/operatic performance – In Vancouver (July 6 – 7, 2017)
(c) Cantonese Opera artistic demo/talk and concert/operatic performance – In Toronto (July 9 – 10, 2017)

Components (a) and (c) have been approved for funding by the Ontario 150 Community Celebration Program, while component (b) will be co-presented by the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre – Museum of Migration Society (“PCHC-Museum”) in Vancouver. As this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Lau Wing Chuen Chinese Performing Arts Association in Toronto, the students of Master Lau Wing Chuen in all three cities are rallying behind this program to support the idea of enabling the seniors among Chinese Canadians to participate in Canada 150 celebrations.

Ms. Winnie Cheung, Vice Chair of the Multi Voices One Heart (“MVOH”) Steering Committee and co-founder of PCHC-Museum, points to the key role played by Canada, especially through Victoria and Vancouver, in the spread and development of Cantonese opera in North America. In 1860s Cantonese opera troupes were already performing in Chinese theatres in Victoria and by 1885 they were able to sustain five Chinese theatres, while by the 1910s Vancouver would have three Chinese theatres in Chinatown that staged Cantonese opera. According to Winnie, this aspect of our history in Pacific Canada is one of the many interesting chapters missing in Canadian history books. Hence, PCHC-Museum embraces the opportunity to be the copresenter of MVOH in Vancouver to draw attention to the unique history and stories of Pacific Canada. “By celebrating Canada 150 through Cantonese Opera,” she continues, “ we affirm our aspiration for a diverse and inclusive society and foster civic engagement in sharing some of the best we have sustained in our rich heritage in spite of the challenges of immigration and migration”.

Mrs. Angela Keung, Co-Chair of the MVOH Steering Committee who hails from Hong Kong, remarks: “Our project name “Multi Voices One Heart” tells it all. With one goal one heart, Canadians of different ethnicity and cultural heritage unite to strive for peace and harmony. This is not just the spirit of Canada admired by many around the world, it is also the essence of all fine arts and the aspiration of all humanity.”

Details of the Multi Voices One Heart celebrating activities in Vancouver as below:

1. Cantonese Opera Seminar (with English translation)
Date: July 6, 2017
Time: 1:30pm
Venue: Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden (578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2)
Details: Demonstration on the art of theatrical performance on bound-feet and the unique features of musical accompaniment in Cantonese Opera.
Admission: Free
Community Partner: Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Reception Sponsor: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office

2. Cantonese Operatic Benefit Recital and Theatrical Performance
Date: July 7, 2017
Time: 7:00pm
Venue: Michael J Fox Theatre (7373 Macpherson Ave, Burnaby, BC V5J 2B7)
Details: Please refer to Appendix 1
Ticket Price: $100, $60, $40, $25 (50% of ticket sales in the Vancouver performance will be donated to PCHCMuseum of Migration Society)
Ticket Reservation: 778-788-8809; mvoh@hotmail.com

About the Co-presenters
Lau Wing Chuen Chinese Performing Arts Association – Established in 1987, Lau Wing Chuen Chinese Performing Arts Association, a non-profit making organization, promotes the understanding and appreciation for Cantonese Opera, a traditional art form (recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity), among Canadians of Chinese and other cultural backgrounds; and to provide entertainment for the public, particularly Chinese seniors, by staging concerts & performances involving both amateurs and professionals.

U Sing Cantonese Opera Pavilion – U Sing Cantonese Opera Pavilion was founded in 2013 to promote the art of traditional Cantonese opera through lectures, courses and live performances. Its purpose is to promote the understanding and appreciation for Cantonese opera – a traditional art form recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity – to people of different age groups so that this valuable heritage will remain a living and growing one.

Charitable activities organized by U Sing Cantonese Opera Pavilion include Cantonese Opera Symposium, Cantonese Opera Jam Sessions by Seniors and Cantonese Opera Benefit Concerts for Seniors.

PCHC- Museum of Migration Society – This is a non-profit society registered in BC with the aim of building a Museum of Migration on the West Coast so that the unknown and lesser known history and family stories of Canadians whose ancestors originating from around the Pacific can be recovered and shared more widely as part of a more inclusive national narrative of Canada.

Media Enquiries
Mrs. Angela Keung
Co-Chair of the MVOH Steering Committee
Tel: 852-9470 6388
Email: akeung2017@163.com

Ms. Winnie Cheung
Vice Chair of MVOH Steering Committee
Tel: 604-836 8838
Email: winnie.cheung99@gmail.com

Ms. Cleo Ma
Project Director of MVOH Steering Committee
Tel: 852-63111196 (WhatsApp)
Email: multi.voices.150@gmail.com