Online concert between Honolulu and Zhongshan, China


The students of the Punahou Symphony and the students of Zhongshan, China are proud to launch a musical collaboration that honors a 25-year partnership between the cities of Honolulu and Zhongshan, the birthplace of Sun Yat-sen.

The 30-minute online concert features students from Punahou, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Middle School, Zhongshan Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Zhongshan Experimental Primary School Choir. It’s the culmination of months of rehearsals and recordings, all conducted over an 18-hour time difference.

“Music has incredible power to connect people and help us share our culture,” said Helen Chao-Casano, director of the school of music and co-chair of the project. “It was exciting for the students to learn Chinese repertoire, share music and dance to represent Hawai’i, and collaborate virtually.”

Punahou’s relationship with the city dates back to an orchestra visit to Zhongshan in 2016, where students performed alongside the Zhongshan Youth Philharmonic Orchestra at the city’s cultural and arts center and toured the school. Secondary Sun Yat-sen Memorial. There, they took language and culture lessons, learned about when Sun Yat-sen was a student at Punahou, played music, and participated in a sister school signing ceremony. “It was great to see how the students connected and made friendships,” said Orchestras Director Craig Young.

During a special reception at his home, Mayor Blangiardi also honored the 25th anniversary of the partnership between the two cities, which included exchange programs and collaborative projects in the areas of trade, culture, health, education and more. Representatives from Zhongshan, including Mayor Xiao Zhanxin and Acting Director General of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs Guo Daiyun, Punahou President Mike Latham ’86, and Yen Chun of the Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation attended the event.

Concert program

Akaka Falls by Punahou School
Beautiful night by Punahou School
Butterfly by Sun Yat-Sen Memorial High School
Vivaldi’s Concerto for four violins in B minor (Movement I)
by Zhongshan Youth Philharmonic Orchestra
Climb higher step by step by Punahou School
and Zhongshan Youth Philharmonic Orchestra
Our Sun Yat-sen by Punahou School, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Middle School, Zhongshan City Experimental Primary School, Zhongshan Youth Philharmonic Orchestra

Special thanks to Constance H. Lau, Li Haiying and Yen Chun


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