PureInsight | August 21, 2018
[PureInsight.org] The 7th International Chinese Vocal Competition held by NTD Television was held on July 15th, 2018. We interviewed Mr. Guimin Guan, who is the head jury of the competition, and a singer at Shen Yun in the United States. He is known as the best Chinese singer. The following is a report of his interview.
Reporter: Can you please tell us about the goal of the competition?
Guimin Guan: We want to give Chinese people a stage to show themselves. The purpose of Chinese Vocal Competition is to revive tradition.
Reporter: Why does this competition only include Bel Canto style?
Guimin Guan: We are cultivators. We believe that people are created by God. God gave human special muscles for singing when he created human. God only taught human one way to sing. We found that Bel Canto is closest to the method taught by God. If we want to revive tradition, we need to sing using the method closest to the singing way taught by God. We therefore chose Bel Canto.
The reason why there are so many different singing styles nowadays is that people forgot the method taught by God after a long time. In other words, what God taught us is lost. Human’s moral values also deviate from the standard. That is why we have so many different singing methods at present, such as Italian style, Russian style, and German style.
In fact, many great singers in Chinese history, such as E Han in Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770-221BC), Qing Qin, Tan Xue, Chounü Mo, and Guinian Li in Tang Dynasty, had very loud and penetrating voices. “Voices shake the forest and stop the moving cloud” is an old Chinese saying that describes the loudness and brightness of singers’ voices. People nowadays think that the saying is exaggerated or an ancient myth. In fact, the saying is an accurate description of singers’ voices. Unfortunately, we do not have such singers now.
Reporter: You had already formed your own style when you were in China. In your age, you are still active on stage, and audiences still like you. How did you do it?
Guimin Guan: I had already formed my own singing style in China. After I joined Shen Yun, I adopted Shen Yun’s singing method, which is the method from God.
Singers in my age will not know how to sing unless they change their singing method. But I changed it all. I feel the difference. My voice is louder and brighter, and singing becomes much easier for me. Take a newly born child for example. The child can cry really loud for a whole day without feeling tired. The way how a child cries is the way God taught people to sing. If you sing by this method, you will not feel tired at all. Of course, I am not perfect. I am still trying and experimenting.
Reporter: Why did you say that this competition is an opportunity for Chinese singers?
Guimin Guan: A lot of arts performance groups will come to see the competition. Candidates will have a lot of opportunities. For example, three judges of our judging panel were admitted to Shen Yun through Chinese vocal competition. Some winners in the past immigrated to the United States as skilled workers.
If you are chosen by Shen Yun, you will have the opportunity to tour the world and perform on top theaters for roughly 120 or 130 times every year. In Britain we perform in a theater where the Queen goes. In United States, we perform in top theaters including the Lincoln Center, John F. Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall etc. We tour around the world.
Therefore, the NTD Competition is an opportunity for Chinese musicians. This opportunity is not always available. There may not be many such opportunities.
Reporter: Why did the competition choose these 12 songs?
Guimin Guan: Songs in mainland China written after 1949 were created under the Chinese communist party (CCP) and all praised the CCP. The CCP is an evil party. It changed the lyrics of Chinese folk songs in order to make it look better. So we have to get rid of these things.
We allow candidates to have other good songs written before 1949 that does not praise the CCP. Some other possible song choices may include Western aria songs and Renaissance songs. We aim at reviving traditional culture. We do not sing nontraditional songs.
Reporter: How do you become a good singer?
Guimin Guan: First of all, you need to have talents. Some children can sing a lot of songs when they are only five or six years old. Some children are talented in other areas but not singing. So talent is very important.
Second, you need to work hard. It’s not ok if you do not practice singing even if you have talents. You need to practice singing hard.
Another thing is to listen to more good songs and learn songs from good singers. Of course, having a high moral standard is also important. When I was in Beijing, singers around me are very compassionate.
Reporter: What effect does listening to music have on people?
Guimin Guan: Music is a cultivation of mind. Listening to bad and negative songs will drag people’s moral values down. Listening to good music will make you easy, relax, happy and can also improve your moral standard.
With the development of human society, people have deviated from traditional moral standards. A lot of things that spur people’s evil nature emerged such as modernism. People dress like ghosts and dance on the stage. The lighting is also nontraditional. Why do people like such things?
Everyone should move toward goodness, improvement of moral standards, and compassion. We need to revive truly good things.
Note: “2018 International Chinese Vocal Competition” application information can be found in the following NTDTV webpage: https://vocal.ntdtv.com
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