Fourth graders to experience Asia at Troy

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More than 285 fourth and fifth graders from Banks, Troy, Brundidge and Luverne elementary schools will have an opportunity to “Experience Asia” right here at home on Thursday.

The students will participate in “Experience Asia for Kids,” which is offered through the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts and the Confucius Institute.

Dr. Maryjo Cochran, college dean, said “Experience Asia for Kids” will open the door to the world for the participating students.

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“‘Experience Asia for Kids” will feature music, dance, storytelling and art,” Cochran said. “It will be a new experience for the students and it will be entertaining and educational.”

In fact, “Experience Asia for Kids” will be so entertaining that the kids probably won’t even realize that it’s educational.

“Experience Asia for Kids” will began at noon Thursday in the Trojan Center Theater where the students will be exposed to a potpourri of Asian culture.

The “Experience” will include music played on the hulusu, a flute that produces a silky tone, a Kung-Fu demonstration, video clips that give an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the Chinese culture and a Chinese dragon dance.

Following the stage presentation, the students will follow the dragon to the Trojan Center ballroom to participate in a variety of art projects.

“The students will be divided into groups of about 12 and each group will be assigned to one of 24 work stations,” Cochran said. “We will have about 50 university students, including international students, who have volunteered to assist with the projects.”

The student volunteers will move from station to station demonstrating their particular project to the students.

“One project will be making an Asian opera mask and coloring a panda bear,” Cochran said. “The students will make an Asian fan and a flying fish. They will also learn to write their names in Chinese and count from one to 10 in Chinese.”

The students will make a bookmark with their name on it in Chinese and learn about chopsticks and why they are used.

“The students will actually learn to use the chopsticks by trying to pick up M&Ms and macaroni and they will have a lot of fun doing that,” Cochran said. “The ‘Asian Experience for Kids’ should generate interest in the Asian culture and develop an appreciation for it.”

“Experience Asia for Kids” is phase one of the three-phase “Experience Asia Festival.”

On Friday, the students at Troy Elementary School will be treated to classical Asian stories and a performance by the Ronin Taiko Drums.

At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, there will be a public performance by the Ronin Taiko Drums at the Claudia Crosby Theater. Tickets are $5 for children and students and $10 for adults.

For reservations, call the Trojan Center Box Office at 670-3293. Tickets will be available at the door.

The “Experience Asia for Kids” project is made possible by grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Troy Arts Council, the Confucius Institute at Troy and the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts.