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                                                                NC-RTP Chinese Music Ensemble

Piedmont Community College will present its fifth annual arts festival, StepN2theArtZ, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, on the College’s Person County Campus in Roxboro. This year’s event, open to College, public school students, and the community, will center on the arts and culture of China. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.  

Guest performers will demonstrate a wide variety of Chinese arts, from calligraphy to Chinese opera. Featured performers include the NC-RTP Chinese Music Ensemble of Chapel Hill, the Triangle Area Peking Opera Association, Rick Panico and the Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy, artist Grace Li Wang, and calligrapher Jinxiu Zhao.  

The NC-RTP Chinese Music Ensemble will perform Chinese music. Founded in 2003, the ensemble is directed by Jennifer Chang. The group includes more than 21 musicians committed to promoting Chinese culture and enriching the life of the community through music performances and musical instrument classes. The group consists of four sections representing woodwind, bowed-string, plucked-string, and percussion instruments and incorporates western instruments such as keyboard, electronic guitar, accordion and drums. 

 The Triangle Area Peking Opera Association includes approximately 20 fan singers, Er-Hu players, college students and professionals. They have performed Chinese opera in many area festivals and events, including the group’s own Chinese New Year celebrations, Raleigh International Festivals, Greensboro Chines New Year celebrations, and Duke University Chinese cultural events.  

The Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy will perform a traditional hung gar Chinese Lion Dance and a traditional Dragon Dance. The group is led by academy owner Rick Panico, who learned the lion and dragon dances in Philadelphia’s Chinatown in 1975. He has performed across the East Coast and leads adult, teen and children’s Lion Dance teams and a Dragon Dance team that he teaches and trains in his kung fu school in Mooresville. The groups have performed at many regional events, including several college festival and cultural fairs.  

Artist Grace Li Wang will bring her artwork for an exhibit at the College’s Learning Resources Center. Born in Tapai, Taiwan, Wang came to the United States in 1964 and attended North Carolina State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in 1974. She has exhibited in galleries and shows nationally and internationally and is the owner of Grace Li Wang Gallery. During StepN2theArtZ, she will conduct an art tour of her paintings and talk about her work. She also will have her art books and greeting cards for sale.

For several hours, Chinese calligrapher Jinxiu Zhao will demonstrate traditional Chinese brush painting as well as Chinese calligraphy. The themes of her brush paintings emphasize nature and natural settings: flowers, trees, plants and the scenery around her. Zhao appreciates the opportunity to teach people about Chinese cultural arts and teaches brush-painting classes at the Robert and Pearl Seymour Center in Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill Zen Center, the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Duke Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Attendees will be able to participate in some of the festival events. PCC instructor Peter Kay will lead the audience in a T’ai Ch’i demonstration from 8:45-9:15 a.m. Throughout the day, PCC art students will lead festival attendees in creating a Chinese mural to be displayed on campus.

Students in PCC’s Film and Video Production Technology Program and Digital Effects and Animation Program will share some of their short films and animations during the festival. PCC student clubs and organizations will sell concessions, some of which will be Chinese foods in keeping with the day’s theme.  

Admission to StepN2theArtZ is free. For more information, contract Dr. Dawn Langley, at or (336) 599-1181. School classes are welcome to attend provided arrangements have been made in advance. If you would like to bring a group of students, please contact Leighann Long at or (336) 599-1181.