Whether we take a weekend to celebrate Nan Jung’s 26th Anniversary, sing together as a team, sound the class bell for the English Village, listen to Bing Crosby while decorating the tree, or hear familiar Christmas melodies in Chinese, music is a powerful part of our lives even in Taiwan.
I’ve been reminded of this over and over. Music is the language of the heart. For the Taiwanese people it seems singing comes very naturally: a funeral or wedding becomes a community event as the music of mourning or rejoicing is heard far and wide.
On the anniversary of a temple the surrounding villagers participate in a procession, parading their gods to the oppressive throbbing beat of drums and gongs. In glorious contrast are the heralds of our Savior’s birth.
Last night from our apartment, the clear sound of children’s voices could be heard.Taking a look from our seventh-floor balcony (no I really didn’t “tare open the shutters and throw up the sash” but I was quite surprised all the same), two vanloads of children could be seen on the street below each one decked out in red and white. They were stopping on their route to carol in an alley across the road from us. Their youthful voices sounded clearly in the night. Then one by one they piled back into the vans and were gone.
It reminded me of the caroling we had done the night before: for the better part of two hours we were able to visit a few of our now-close friends in Chaoujhou. For many of them, if not all, it was the first time ever to be caroled to. What a memory.
Right now, Christmas Day at about 2:00 in the afternoon, the school grounds here also are filled with music. The theme is triumphant, the beat confident, the harmony incredible. Each musician (and they are musicians) and each instrument knows it’s part. In addition to folk music and the national anthem, pieces from Pirates of the Carribean and Fiddler on the Roof can be heard. The Nan Jung Junior Highers are a picture of striving for excellence.