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UNI to host performance by Tsou Cultural Troupe of Taiwan

April 28, 2003

John Vallentine, director, UNI School of Music, (319) 273-2024
James O'Connor, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa School of Music will host a performance by the world-famous Tsou Cultural Troupe of Taiwan at 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 6, in the Gallagher -Bluedorn Performing Arts Center's Davis Hall.

The troupe is comprised of the Tsou (pronounced: SAU) people from rural Taiwan. The ensemble is under the direction of UNI School of Music alumnus, Susan Tsai (Master of Music degree, 1984), and

has performed around the world in places such as Paris, Vienna, Rome, the Vatican, Washington, D.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and New York.

The Tsou (literally means 'people') are an indigenous group from Taiwan. They live in the forest area west of Jade Mountain and have a combined population of approximately 7,000. According to Tsou myth, the God of the Heavens made humankind by shaking fruit from a maple tree, and left his footprints in the mountain forests to give the Tsou a place to build their villages. Most of the Tsou people make their living mainly by cultivating bamboo, tea and wasabi mustard.

The troupe has no formal sponsoring organization. When invited to perform performers are selected and organized, and then train and rehearse, based on the needs of each occasion.

According to John Vallentine, director of the UNI School of Music, no aspect of traditional Tsou culture is more highly praised than their ceremonial music and dance.

'The proud melodies and elegant cadences of these stately rites create an aura of solemnity and devotion. The Tsou belief in this spirit of adoration for the gods and all they created, not only evokes the reverence and respect they feel for nature, but also serves as a pillar of support for the Tsou as they face the challenges of a harsh environment,' said Vallentine.

The performance is free and open to the public, however tickets are required due to limited seating. To reserve tickets, call 273-SHOW (7469), A limited number of tickets will be available at the door.