Asian-American performers, TASC bring culture to Norris

Maria LaMagna

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Mandarin language, colorful lighting and kazoo characterized the lineup of musical acts that performed at the McCormick Auditorium on Tuesday night.

About 150 students, faculty and community members gathered at Norris University Center for “Live in Concert!,” a lineup of Asian-American-themed artists presented by the Taiwanese American Students Club. The concert featured singer/songwriters Cynthia Lin and Vienna Teng and the duo The Shanghai Restoration Project.

The artists encouraged audience participation. Lin asked for assistance in singing an acoustic mash-up of “Another Day” from “Rent” and “Forever Young,” which garnered particularly enthusiastic applause. She also gave a shout-out to Chicago-style pizza, while Teng called for “heckling” during a song that was a translated version of the advice her grandmother gave her as a child.

“I thought (Teng’s performance) was very expressive,” Bienen freshman Valerie Kosiadi said. “Vienna Teng is a classical pianist, and I thought she brought the character out of the keyboard.”

Kosiadi said she attended the event after a friend introduced her to Teng’s music.Byron Cheng said he has been involved in TASC events before and was excited to see the night’s final act.

“Shanghai Restoration Project came to Northwestern in previous years and I saw them, so I wanted to see them again,” the McCormick senior said.

He said he thinks events like this concert help expose NU students to different types of artists.

“Part of it is that it’s stuff that doesn’t get that much attention,” he said. “I haven’t heard of these artists too much off campus, so being able to see them in a smaller venue like this is nice.”

After their performances, the artists opened the floor to questions in a panel-style discussion about their music and Asian-American life.

Weinberg sophomore Pamela Hung, who organized this year’s event, said the performers were selected to be TASC’s annual speakers after she and other members of the group saw The Shanghai Restoration Project perform at a conference for the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Students Association. After selecting the group, they were able to bring Lin and Teng to campus as well.

“All three were able to perform at the same time in the same place, so it worked out nicely,” Hung said.

Hung said cultural events such as this are important to campus life.

“Without cultural events, the culture that is brought here dies out,” she said. “When a lot of people hear ‘Taiwan,’ they say, ‘Oh, I really like Thai food,’ which is a common misconception. Getting the word out about Taiwan, and what their situation is, is important for awareness.”

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