New Generations Enjoy Ancient Far East TraditionsArboretum Asian Fest Offers Dance, Sports, Play, And Internationally-Known Musicians
LISLE, IL (July 2, 2008) – Cricket, anyone? How about a ride in a pedicab?
Whether it’s Tai Chi, mahjongg, ikebana, bonsai, yoga, Filipino dance, Chinese and Japanese music, food, storytelling or children’s crafts, visitors can spike their summer fun with a weekend of rare, exotic experiences at The Morton Arboretum July 26 and 27, during the 2008 Asian Celebration. (Full schedule of events follows this release)
“These events are designed to celebrate the ways that Asian cultures incorporated trees and wood into formal ceremonies and everyday activities alike,” says Diana Fischer-Woods, Arboretum Special Events Coordinator.
New this year is an exceptional concert of koto music from two koto masters of the Sawai Koto Institute, a Tokyo-based organization renowned for its unique artistry and contemporary approach to the koto: a large, stringed instrument that goes back to the 7th century. The performers include former Chicagoan Curt Patterson, who has lived in Japan for more than 20 years. He says the program includes a blend of old and contemporary music.
“My performances span a range of musical expression and emotion much wider than that normally associated with the koto and Japanese music,” says Patterson, who has performed in the Far East, Europe, and the United States.
A reception follows the concert, with wine and Asian-inspired appetizers.
Also new this year: the game that features bowlers, batsmen, wicketkeepers and fielders. The athlete in the family will love to play instructional games of cricket, an English game that’s wildly popular in Asia. No experience is necessary to get into these short, informal games.
If all the fun gets visitors tuckered out, no worries. Brand new this year: rickshaw rides. For $3/adult and $1/child, people can hop into a pedicab and be wheeled away to their next activity….
…Which might be some soothing Chinese acupressure. Licensed therapists will apply an ancient technique to relax sore muscles. They will also describe herbs that the Chinese have used for medicinal purposes, for centuries.
Last year’s favorite event – Japanese taiko drumming – returns this year. Chicago-based JASC Tsukasa Taiko – the Midwest’s leading taiko artists who are nationally and internationally recognized – will perform this 1,500 year old Japanese tradition in lavish costumes. Drummers dance and pose while standing or sitting, with audiences often clapping along to the inspiring drumbeat.
The day’s festivities will also include an amazing Filipino stick dance. Performers from DePaul University’s Asian cultural exchange in vibrant costumes maneuver eight-foot-long sticks to music, and then, audience members get their chance to participate.
There are still more activities, with something for everyone.
Children will marvel at the forms they can create in the ancient art of origami, play with rock gardens, and they’ll delight in the traditional Japanese storytelling.
For adults, an instructor demonstrates Tai Chi: the martial art for those seeking relaxation and personal growth. There will be a bonsai show and demonstrations of shaping miniature trees into art; experts will reveal Japanese flower arranging secrets in the ikebana demonstrations; and anyone who has not experienced the mahjongg game gets a chance to do so at this festival. During a formal Japanese tea ceremony, a few lucky observers will be invited to participate in the ceremony and sample the tea.
For anyone, guides will lead groups on a walk to the Japan tree collection, one of the Arboretum's oldest plant collections, and explain the collection’s cultural significance. An expert will lead a yoga demonstration. And the Arboretum gets the grill fired up, cooking up Asian-inspired food for purchase, such as egg rolls, jasmine rice, and Thai shrimp.
All events, except the koto concert, are free with Arboretum admission, which is $9/adult, $8/senior, $6/child, children under three are free, and parking is free. Koto concert tickets are $33 ($25 for Arboretum members), which includes Arboretum admission. Purchase tickets at www.mortonarb.org, or at 630-725-2066.
The Morton Arboretum gratefully acknowledges our featured wine sponsor, Brown-Forman.
ASIAN FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS JULY 26 AND 27
Bonsai show and demonstrations: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Visitor Center Circle Drive:
Rickshaw Rides (pedicabs): Noon – 4 p.m. $3/adult, $1/child
Visitor Center Area:
Yoga demonstration: 11:15 a.m. (Saturday only)
Chinese music: Noon – 12:30 p.m.
Japanese storytelling: 1 – 1:45 p.m.
Chinese music: 2 – 2:30 p.m.
Philippine dances, including stick dance: 3 – 3:45 p.m. (Saturday only)
Japanese drummers: 3 – 3:45 p.m. (Sunday only)
Asian Grill: Asian-inspired food for purchase 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Meadow Lake Area:
Japanese tea ceremonies: 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Tai Chi demonstrations: throughout both days
Ikebana demonstrations: Noon and 2 p.m.
Mahjongg demonstrations: Noon – 2 p.m. (Saturday only)
Chinese acupressure: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ongoing, participatory cricket games: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Asian-related craft activities 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
From Visitor Center Area To Japan Tree Collection:
Guided Walks: Noon and 1:30 (both days), and 3 p.m. (Saturday only)
Koto concert and reception featuring Curtis Patterson and Ryuko Mizutani, koto masters from the Sawai School of Tokyo: 7: 30 – 10 p.m.
$33, ($25 for Arboretum members)
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.