Chinese New Year in Fenggashan, Hunan Province
It was an unexpected surprise, when our team got an invitation to participate in the Chinese New Year Celebration, broadcasted by Hunan TV. Our producer and host Victor Migalchan, together with assistant producer Jane Sun arrived in Changsha on February 11, 2018.
This year the show was held in Fenggashan, it is the 6th year in the row, that Hunan TV does such TV shows in order to present and support local traditions and cultures.
What is Fengga Mountain? Fengga Mountain is actually a small place, called Fengjia zhen in Xinhua County. In the local dialect, the character Jia is pronounced like Ga.
Most of Fenggashan local people have last name Feng, according to legend, this last name has its origins in the Qin Dynasty aristocracy.
After two thousand years, Fengjian Zhen managed to transform mountains into an Ancient Paradise.
On February 11 our team, together with representatives of media companies from USA (New Jersey), Canada, New Zeland, and Thailand were invited to visit Hunan TV and headquarters of Hunan TV International, where they met President Gan Lin and Vice President Stella Wan. Presentation of Hunan TV and it’s achievements were astonishing. After visiting the headquarters in Changsha, we made a short visit to Xinhua and then went to Fenggashan.
Before coming to Fengga Shan Xia Tun Cun (lower village), I had no idea what is waiting for us. I checked some information online however nothing can compare with reality. First day in Fenggashan we visited the Dragon Cave. It was mysterious and magical. Each tiny rock has it’s own history of thousand years.
Our first day on the set was February 14th, St Valentines day. It was magical, everything was prepared perfectly well by the Hunan TV Crew and of course local people, who were extremely welcoming and open for us.
New few words about the crew. Together with another guest from the US, New Jersey, Sir Edward Cologna, president at Cologna productions, we noticed how disciplined and professional the crew is. Everything was done with no delays and no overtime, rehearsals were organized just enough to prepare for the show. At our first rehearsal I met the main host of the show Wang Haoyang (he also is reporter and producer at Hunan TV).
It was great to work with him, he explained tasks clearly and we had great understanding since the 1st second. “This meeting was predestined, I felt it but didn’t understand why”-says Victor. Wang Haoyang's partner host, Liu Yuxuan, being still a student, also did a great job and here we can understand Wang Haoyang, all his pressure and responsibility. At the same time it was pretty cold in Fenggashan, hence guy were not only worrying for the show but fighting the temperature with their warm hearts and “blood as warm as the red sun” “热血像那红日光”.
Day one and I was invited to participate in the contest of making Xinhua meatballs. We had two teams, men and ladies were competing in the challenge who’s meatballs would be the best. Both teams were judged by the professional cook. We tried our best, but of course, being real gentlemen our team didn’t let ourselves win, and ladies celebrated their victory over and over again. We enjoyed watching them being happy.
Second day was even more challenging. Our team, lead by non-stoppable Jenny Hu (a.k.a Fu Laoshi), was never late and never missed a minute of the event. After successful day one, Wang Haoyang, our main host approached Victor and asked if he could sing, because they wanted him to sing for the show. It was not just a joke. “It was a battle inside of me, when my heart said no, my mind said yes (nothing is impossible). Since my mind always wins, the answer was :”Yes, sure””. Victor sang a well known song “Nan er dang zi qiang”, theme song of the famous movie “Once Up On a Time in China”. After few rehearsals, director of the show decided that this song doesn’t go well with the New Year theme, and Victor was offered to change the song to “Gong Xi Facai”. At the same time, he had to sing a love folk song “Liu Liu”. Nothing is impossible, this is the slogan of our We Got You Media Dream Team. And we did it. In 15 minutesnew song was learnt by heart and rehearsed few times before we were live. What was even more amazing, that we could meet and talk to the main hero of this day, 81-year old lady and the Singing Queen Madam Wu. She shared with us stories, how she was invited to sing for Chairman Mao Zedong. It was one of her happiest moments. The saddest moment of her life was when in 1959 she went to Xia Men to sing for injured soldiers. Her songs had magical power and helped warriors to get relief.
Madam Wu sang like she was 18, never stopped even if it was a rehearsal. The crew was worried that she might get tired till the actual broadcast begins, but no, Madam Wu never got tired. During the show she also performed “boloshan” song.
For Victor it was the 1st time to sing in front of public, in front of camera but also in front of masters of this art.
Another challenge was prepared for our team member from New Jersey. Sir Edward was challenged too. It was another contest, where another teacher was singing local folk songs and Mr Edward had to repeat after her. When Sir Eddy was ready, contestants could open their ears and the one who guessed which song was performed by Mr Edward was the winner. It was a challenge for both parties of the game. Senior Edward, having Italian blood did his job perfectly.
Next day was the day of men. Chinese Martial arts performances, prepared by students of local school impressed everyone. Meishan wushu, which belongs to southern style’s family, has rich barehand and diversified weapon techniques. Young martial artists together with their coaches prepared also Dragon performances. We were honored to meet 73- year old grandmaster of Meishan Wushu, who performed some techniques for us.
Rehearsals of this day show has begun. In the beginning hosts Wang Haoyang and his partner Liu Yuxuan were coming out with special dragon poles, and 2 dragons were following them. “I saw that movement of hosts weren’t choreographed well. I was worried that haters, which we all have especially if we are in the entertainment business, will get a chance to laugh or even try to do any kind of damage to their image, hence I offered Wang Haoyang some help. He kindly agreed and we started practicing. I tried to do my best for them in this short period of time. Guys are smart and talented, Haoyang has this man’s martial arts feeling and Yuxuan were graceful, after few rehearsals we got the movement and some key words for them to understand each other. It time for me to walk away and I was sure that they’ll do well, and they did.”- recalls Victor.
Another magical amusement of this event was : local kids and youth, their eyes are so clean, like crystals of diamonds. Not only our team representatives, but everyone enjoyed chatting, playing and taking pictures with them. “Nothing can be more beautiful than a happy hear of a kid”,-says Victor.
Last day was happy and sad at the same time. Happy because it was another story on the set, new performances, dances around the fire and the New Year Cow with Red Envelopes. Sad because it was our last day. After visiting a temple, we went to the set and enjoyed the show. Children were super excited and we were not sure was that about the show or red envelopes, but whatever it was, it was making them happy and it was good enough. We decided to not compete with kids for prices and just enjoyed the show from the site. Our group member Rebecca, amazing lady from New Zeland was part of this show and hosts told us briefly her story. It was so touching. Rebecca did great job on the set and after 2 takes we were done. Everyone was happy, tired but felt a bit empty, everything was history.
We fell in love with Hunan, it’s beautiful nature, “titian”, mountains, rivers and lakes. Nature, animals and even little frogs were celebrating the 1st day of Spring.
It was wonderful time, meeting new people and having this beautiful cultural and media exchange. Someone made new friends, someone - new partners; kids found their objects of interest, Haiermen found their Dawang, Nature opened something new in our hearts. We would like to express our appreciation for everything that was organized and assistance to Local Authorities, Hunan TV management and its wonderful Crew, personally Wang Haoyang for assistance on the set; to Jenny Hu (a.k.a Fu Laoshi) for all her 24/7 efforts to make this event perfect and successful; to Volunteers Zhang Yen, Yan Baobei and 4 little Haiermen. These wonderful people with big hearts made a small step, but a huge leap in the human history and cultural exchange.
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