Fireworks added to Asia Week events at Bates College

In observance of the Lunar New Year, Bates College and the student organization Sangai Asia have added a fireworks display to Asia Week, the college’s major celebration this month of the diverse cultures of Asia and particularly China.

Produced by Blue Hill Pyrotechnics, a leading Maine fireworks firm, the dazzling display over the college’s Lake Andrews begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24. All are welcome to watch the fireworks from the Olin Arts Center terrace, 75 Russell St., at no charge.

Actually commencing on Jan. 22 with the new moon, this Lunar New Year begins the Year of the Monkey. Celebrated in a number of Asian cultures, Lunar New Year resembles the American traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas — times for family, feelings of joy and appreciation of the blessings of the past year. Throughout the celebration’s 15 days, families visit and offer gifts. Religious ceremonies are dedicated to heaven and earth, to the gods of the household and to family ancestors. Fireworks are traditionally part of the celebration.

Other Asia Week events: At 8 p.m. the same evening in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, the Bates College Concert Series offers The Zheng: A Concert of Classical Chinese Music, featuring Tian Qing, a musicologist and multi-instrumentalist, and Zhang Shan, a virtuoso on the zither-like stringed instrument called the zheng. The musicians offer a free pre-concert lecture in the concert hall at 4 p.m. Concert admission is $8 for the general public and $5 for seniors and students. For reservations and concert series information, call 207-786-6135.

Supported by the Freeman Foundation of New York City and Stowe, Vt., Asia Week at Bates begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, with a lecture and opening reception for the Bates College Museum of Art exhibition Documenting China: Contemporary Photography and Social Change. Showcasing the work of seven Chinese photographers, this nationally significant exhibition examines the impacts of urbanization and industrialization in that rapidly modernizing land.

Also starting Jan. 16 are exhibitions of student photographs of China in the Chase Hall Gallery, Campus Avenue, and the Ronj, Bates’ student-run coffeehouse, 32 Frye St. The images come from a body of work by the two dozen students who spent the 2003 Bates College Fall Semester in Nanjing.

“The Eye: The 2004 Bates College Festival of Contemporary Asian Cinema” offers seven films to be shown between 6 and 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, through Friday, Jan. 23. The first screening takes place in the Benjamin Mays Center, Russell Street, and the remainder in Olin Arts Center, Room 104.

Finally, in the Mays Center at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, Cleveland-based designer David Slawson offers the slide lecture Creating Japanese Gardens Inspired by Native Scenery. For information call 207-786-6255.

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