Universal language to bring overseas visitors to Eureka

Friday, February 10, 2012
Photo submitted Thomas Chen, right, and violin maker/instrument impressario, Xiah Jing Hu, take a break in Chen's violin workshop during Hu's visit from China. Hu oversees all the instruments used by the Beijing Symphony and all music created for the film industry in China. Pictured are violins handcrafted for adults and for students as young as three.

Internationally known violin maker and luthier, Hu Xiah Jing, or "Mr. Hu," as he refers to himself, visited Eureka Springs recently as a guest of Thomas Chen, director and founder of the Chen International Cultural and Arts Eureka Springs Summer Music Festival (CICA).

Hu speaks only a few words of English, but is a willing student. He was so impressed with Eureka Springs and the upcoming 2012 CICA festival in June that he plans a second visit this month to see how he can help. Most interesting to him is the Violin Makers' Conference, of course, but what brought the biggest smile to his face was being able to walk around the historic district of what looked to him like a "wild west town."

Hu was also impressed with the quality of fresh vegetables and fruits available in local restaurants and the respectful attitudes of the people he met, even though he couldn't communicate.

Hu is only one of many foreign visitors who will come to Eureka Springs in June for the CICA festival. "Hello" may be heard in several languages, and strangers may need a little help with English. Although different tongues may be spoken, the universal language of music unites all who teach or attend classes, and they in turn produce the best of their art and craft for our enjoyment each night -- no translation needed.

Highlights of the festival so far include performances by the world-renowned Eroica Trio and the Russian-born St. Petersburg Quartet, as well as internationally known concert pianist Jura Margulis and Italian opera singer, Dominika Zamara.

An International Concerto Competition, Composer's Contest, Suzuki Institute and Young Mozart Institute will also draw many to town for CICA.

However, the main purpose of the festival is to give underserved children and those from rural areas the opportunity to learn and play music as a career. With outstanding teachers and performance opportunities, Chen looks toward building a young Eureka Springs symphony over the next five years or so, with the ultimate goal of building a permanent music conservatory in Eureka Springs which will draw teachers and students from around the world.

Anyone interested in learning more about sponsorship and scholarships may email procommeureka@gmailcom. For guest artist appearances and concert and/or class schedules, see www.cicamusicfestival.org.

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