Celebrating the Year of the Ox with our Annual Chinese Temple Bazaar

The Chinese New Year – the Year of the Ox – begins on February 12th, and Flushing Town Hall will again celebrate in fine form with its annual Chinese Temple Bazaar, this time held virtually and streaming via YouTube on Sunday, February 14 at 2:00 PM (ET).

“Temple bazaars are among my most cherished memories about Lunar New Year while growing up in Taiwan,” says Tai Wang, a member of Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Cultural Committee, who conceived the idea of Flushing Town Hall’s Temple Bazaar seven years ago.

She adds, “People watched the live performances in front of a temple while enjoying delicious treats from food stalls and fun games by the vendors. I hoped to recreate the fun experience in New York City. This year, we are celebrating online with a great variety of programs.”

The Chinese Temple Bazaar, title sponsor Tai Wang and Glow Foundation, will feature a feast of Lunar New Year celebrations, including traditional folk dance by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company; “Hao Bang Ah, New Year!”, a new Chinese hand puppet performance by Chinese Theatre Works; a paper-cutting demonstration by Hongyi He and Ling Tang; a Chinese comic crosstalk episode; “A Guide of New York Love”, by Shuimu Xiangsheng; and, a fish-drawing demonstration by Arthur Liu of the Queens Arts Education Center.

And, for those seeking culinary experiences, you can tune in to see classic Lunar New Year dishes: sweet and savory rice ball demonstration by Queens Night Market’s Wanda Chiu; a meatball dish called “braised lion head” by Queens Night Market’s Johnson Hu; and, a whole fish demonstration by Glow Community Center.

For centuries in China, people have celebrated the Lunar New Year in temple fairs with performances, food, and crafts to conclude the final stretch of a harsh winter and celebrate the pending arrival of spring.

“Last year, our Lunar Year programs coincided with the onset of the pandemic, so we decided to cancel the Temple Bazaar to safeguard our community. This year, we are reviving this beloved event so that we may join together again,” says Minwen Yang, Chair of Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Cultural Committee.

She adds, “Our community stepped up to take care of one another during dark times, and we are resilient. We will hold this Bazaar virtually because we are still experiencing a pandemic. With the arrival of a new year and after much hardship, we know this lively celebration will lift our spirits.”

In keeping with the theme of the Ox, which is characterized by attributes of strength and determination, Flushing Town Hall will also revive its community art exhibition, Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency, and Hope in February. To be displayed outdoors along its Northern Boulevard fence, the exhibition first launched in the summer of 2020. This year, members of the community — amateur and professional artists alike — are invited to submit works on the theme and ask themselves: How can I live a courageous life? How can I help build a resilient community? What gives me hope?

Flushing Town Hall will begin accepting new artwork for display on February 1. Participants will be able to hang their works directly on the fence or scan and submit their work by email to: education@flushingtownhall.org.

Looking ahead towards spring, Flushing Town Hall is currently accepting submissions ahead of its February 1 deadline for the second edition of Crazy Talented Asians & Friends – An Evening of Animation Shorts, which premiered with great success in 2020. The 2021 event will take place on Saturday, May 29 in celebration of the APA Heritage Month. Animation filmmakers may submit their shorts for consideration at: https//filmfreeway.com/CTAF


Flushing Town Hall’s FTH At Home! virtual programming is presented for free to the general public but donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.

Funny Valentines: Jazz, Love and Quarantine

Cooped up for months during the pandemic, we’ve all learned to be more creative to help us cope; and at the same time, we’re learning to live with our “roommates”, sometimes with mixed results.  For Jazz musicians who are also couples, their love of music and each other has helped them cope, despite the loss of gigs.  These couples have let love reign through music – which is also the theme of Flushing Town Hall’s February virtual Jazz Jam celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Flushing Town Hall asked three couples who have participated in our monthly Virtual Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong, how their love of music and each other helped them carry on and even thrive during the pandemic.  They are among the more than one hundred artists who performed before more than 7,000 viewers on Facebook and Zoom since the Jazz Jam went virtual last spring, are several couples who have made the Jams a part of their monthly ritual.

To them, the monthly online event provides an important platform to share their creativity and love for music. This month, in the days leading up to an annual celebration of love – Valentine’s Day – we’ll bring you the love stories of three Jazz Jam couples.

And then, if you love jazz, then tune in on February 10th at 7:00 PM (EST) for our next annual Jazz Jam with the theme “Let Love Reign.” You can RSVP here!

Meet Joe Vincent Tranchina and his wife Gabriele

Joe Vincent Tranchina, Flushing Town Hall’s Jazz Jam House Band pianist, and his wife Gabriele live together in Greenwood Lake in Orange County, N.Y.

Where and when did you meet?

Joe and Gabriele met at Carlos One, a now defunct Greenwich Village jazz club in New York City in March 1990. Joe was performing; Gabriele, then an aspiring jazz vocalist, was invited by vocalist Betty Shirley, with whom Joe had been working for a good while, to hear Joe play and introduced the two of them.

How long have you been playing music together?

We have been playing music together since 1991.

How has music influenced your relationship?

Sharing musical experiences together, and our mutual support of each other’s careers, have been of inestimable value, and has brought us closer together. We have recorded 3 CDs together. The last 2 contained a majority of my original compositions. We have travelled internationally and performed in both overseas venues and jazz festivals.

And how is music helping you during the pandemic?

We remain creative and have been finding new ways to share each other’s music, both online and, at times, socially distanced, in person. Mutual creativity and support have kept us united in purpose. We have recorded a variety of new material and created videos in our home studio, which are available online.

Have you participated in FTH’ Jazz Jam?

Joe has been part of the FTH Jazz Jam House Band, led by Carol Sudhalter, since September 2016, a zoom Virtual Jazz Jam since April 2020. He submitted solo piano pieces/videos, derived from Louis Armstrong material, and appropriate to our monthly themes, since April. All are on his YouTube channel and website. On January 13, 2021 Joe’s 10th contribution premiered. Gabriele has performed in person at the FTH Jam, and has also submitted a recorded piece/video, La Voce Toa, for the July 2020 “Our roads to change” jam. All were created in their home studio.

Anything else you’d like to share.

In this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are especially grateful to have each other and to be creating together and sharing our lives.

Meet Jami Dauber and her wife Amy Griffiths

Jami Dauber and her wife Amy Griffiths live in the heart of Manhattan, a few blocks from Broadway.

Where and when did you meet?

Jami and Amy met in Atlanta at the Alliance Theater in 2014 while performing “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life” with a nine-piece version of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Amy was a university professor living in Georgia at the time, and she got hired to play in this smaller version of DIVA; Jami and the DIVA bandleader, Sherrie Maricle, were the only two New York City musicians who played the Atlanta leg of Maurice’s tour.

How long have you been playing music together?

Ever since!

How has music influenced your relationship?

Music brought us together!

And how is music helping you during the pandemic?

At the very start of the pandemic, there was a city-wide “shout out” to the front-line workers at 7:00 PM every evening;we decided that after the applause faded, we would play a tune as an extra “thank you” to the front-line folks and also as a tribute of love to the best city in the world. So…at around 7:04 PM…every evening…we played out the window of our building. We did this for a few months. And it was a really important thing for us;it definitely helped us transition into this unknown territory of having no gigs or live performance opportunities. And it was important that we were doing it together. It gave us a sense of purpose at a time when our performance careers came to a screeching halt.

We ended the post-7:00 PM performances on June 2 after the massive demonstrations/protests began in response to George Floyd’s murder. COVID-19 cases in New York City had been on the decrease, and we didn’t want to distract from the important and essential message from Black Lives Matter.

Since then, we have done many recording projects together. We also just casually play together – Amy is a woodwind player, so she has several instruments, including flute, clarinet, saxophone, and bassoon to practice, and Jami, a trumpet player, needs to keep her chops in physical working order, so we often just pull up duets and play.

Have you participated in FTH Jazz Jam?

Yes, we played for the virtual jam session in October 2020, and we played “When October Goes.”

Anything else you’d like to share.

While we are always super supportive of each other (and we both own excellent noise-cancelling earphones – LOL), while living in a 600 sq. ft., one-bedroom apartment, the pandemic finally pressed us into realizing we needed a practice space that was somewhat sound-proof. With the help of Jami’s mom and aunt, we were able to have a custom practice/recording booth built in a corner of our apartment while simultaneously being able to give work to some of our out-of-work Broadway stagehands.

We got married on June 24, 2016, 12 days after the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando. We were originally going to have the wedding later that year in October, but after Pulse, we decided we didn’t want to wait. Clearly life is too short.

Meet Martin Cohen and Ann Garvey

Where and when did you two meet?

We met around 38 years ago. The two of us sat close to each other in a community concert band. Ann asked Marty for a ride home. He said, “Oh sure, it’s on my way”. It wasn’t! We connected right away.

How long have you been playing music together?

Since we met. For nine years we played at separate bands in the Catskills, then together in pit orchestras for touring musicals like “My Fair Lady” and “Anything Goes”. After 9/11, we got “real jobs.” Marty taught music in public high school and Ann was a secretary, still doing gigs locally. After we retired six years ago, we formed a jazz duo, playing on subway platforms. Listeners hired us for birthday parties, a bat mitzvah, weddings, a real estate open house and a gala. 

How has music influenced your relationship?

Having fun and working towards a common goal has made our relationship stronger. We also get a lot of gratification from busking. Through all different phases of our life, music has been a thread, keeping us connected to many styles of music.

How is music helping you during the pandemic?

With so much time on our hands, we were able to research tunes that subway riders had suggested we learn… “you two would sound great playing Herb Alpert’s Spanish Flea” for example. We started with nine tunes and now play over 150 songs. Marty improved his singing because he practiced a lot. We’ve worked on 20 new arrangements during the pandemic and look forward to resuming performing.

Have you participated in FTH Jazz Jam?

We played Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard at the last Flushing Town Hall jazz jam.

Anything else you’d like to share.

The positive comments that people make are very rewarding. A lady wrote a poem about us. We were in a video. When tourists come here, we feel like ambassadors to New York City, giving directions and sharing our music. Soon after returning to busking after the six-month hiatus, an older gentleman came down the steps with a beret and overcoat. He had tears in his eyes, and said to us, “I was drawn to your music from all the way down the platform. I realized it was live music – I heard the trumpet. I have to tell you that you made my day. I haven’t heard live music in six months and the feelings that you two brought, the love that you have for each other came through.” This made us cry too!

Our Community Art Exhibition “Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope” Returns for the Lunar New Year

Flushing Town Hall’s outdoor community art exhibition – Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope –returns this February for the Lunar New Year to give people an opportunity to express their feelings about this moment in our nation’s history, as well as their hopes in the new year.

Amid the pandemic and social justice movements, Flushing Town Hall launched Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency and Hope last summer, allowing people to contribute their art to be displayed on the historic institution’s fence on Northern Boulevard. On February 1, 2021, Flushing Town Hall re-opens the community art exhibition and solicits new artwork for the Lunar New Year, once again inviting participants to artistically express the range of emotions they feel as they face the new year. 

This Lunar New Year is the Year of the Ox— and its associated characteristics of diligence, strength and determination are skills that help build resiliency, allowing us to recover quickly from difficulties.

Amateur and professional artists are invited to explore these concepts artistically in this new exhibition.  Consider creating art that answers any of these questions: As I face the new year, what skills do I want to cultivate in myself to create a resilient community? What inspires me and others to be hopeful? How can I honor the memory of someone I lost last year by living a courageous life? How can I artistically connect with my diverse community and bring people together?    

“We were incredibly moved by the outpouring of artwork at the first Call and Response exhibition as over 60 pieces were submitted—from amateur and professional local artists and others as far away as the United Kingdom,” said Flushing Town Hall Director of Education and Public Programs Gabrielle M. Hamilton.  “Our 2021 version of this exhibition invites participants to look to a more hopeful future; even as we still grieve for those we lost. With determination, and in honor of those we lost, we look to rebuild a more resilient, inspired, and courageous community. We invite participants of all ages and abilities to create art that shows your artistic vision of a better tomorrow.” 

Flushing Town Hall will begin to accept new artwork to share as part of Call and Response beginning on February 1, 2021.  Participants can hang their artwork themselves, or email scans to the institution before and during the Lunar New Year, which is noted for strength and determination. The Lunar New Year – the Year of the Ox – begins on Friday, February 12, 2021.

Participants will be able to go to the venue and hang their artwork directly on the fence. Artwork of all mediums, from all ages and abilities is welcomed. If you wish to contribute, consider the following:

  • Work can be up to 27”x 39” inches on paper, fabric or ribbon.
  • After you complete your work, write your name on your piece (if you like), punch a hole in the artwork at the top, and tie a string or zip-tie through it.
  • If your artwork is very big, you can tape it to the fence with masking tape
  • Artwork will be exposed to the elements and will not be protected from the weather. 
  • Artwork will not be returned. 
  • Artwork may be photographed and shared online through a virtual exhibition, unless specifically note by the artists on the back of the artwork.
  • Flushing Town Hall reserves the right to remove any artwork that use hate speech, profanity or obscenity, depicts violence, sexual acts or unlawful or illegal behavior.

If participants cannot travel to Flushing Town Hall to hang artwork, they are invited to take a photo or scan of artwork and message, and email scans to education@flushingtownhall.org. Flushing Town Hall staff will print a copy of the work and hang it on our fence.   

Flushing Town Hall will continue to showcase individual pieces of the artwork on Flushing Town Hall’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter platforms, and on Flushing Town Hall’s Cultural Crossroads blog

Flushing Town Hall’s FTH At Home! virtual programming is presented for free to the general public but donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.

Visit Our New Website!

Flushing Town Hall is excited to announce the launch of its redesigned website: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/. The new website improves access to online events, educational programming, artist services, and rental availabilities. It also features a brand new PRESS ROOM with the latest press releases and news coverage. As always, it remains a great source for information about the history and mission of the organization, as well as important contact and community engagement information. 

Let Love Reign in a Virtual Jazz Jam on February 10

Flushing Town Hall celebrates love with its popular Virtual Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong, part of Flushing Town Hall’s dynamic online entertainment, FTH at Home! on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 7:00 PM (EST), when jazz musicians from New York City and across the globe will play love songs and funny valentines embracing the theme “Let Love Reign.”

As doors remain closed to in-person performances, Flushing Town Hall’s virtual programming has thrived and brought thousands of people together fostering resiliency and hope through music and art. Every month, jazz musicians come together to play tunes reflecting each month’s theme.

The February Jazz Jam showcases the performance of up to 15 love songs and funny valentines. Participants are invited to jam or watch with their significant other, and perhaps have a glass of champagne or some heart-shaped chocolate as they experience the event from the comfort of their homes.

Since April 2020, the Jazz Jam has become a haven for jazz lovers from around the world—with participants reaching from New York to Guyana, to Germany and Italy, and to New Zealand and Australia where musicians get up in the early morning hours to join the jam. Since going online, the jams reached more than 7,000 views, and exceeded 1,700 engagements online—numbers that surpassed the participation and capacity of the venue during previous in-person sessions.

Flushing Town Hall’s monthly Jazz Jam is supported by the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation and has been led by Astoria resident Carol Sudhalter. House band members include illustrious musicians such as Joe Vincent Tranchina, Scott Neumann and Eric Lemon, who pay tribute to the great Louis Armstrong, performing songs associated with the legendary trumpeter/vocalist every month.

Musicians interested in participating on February 10, 2021 should email education@flushingtownhall.org with the suggested three- to four-minute tune they intend to play. The performance can be live or a pre-recorded audio or video (but not a professional, edited recording such as a CD or YouTube video).

Musicians who previously performed are now welcome to return. Each month, up to five returning musicians and up to 15 new musicians can participate. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Anyone is invited to listen and can simply tune in to Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page or Zoom on Wednesday, February 10 at 7:00 PM (EST) to join the live event for free, without registration.

Flushing Town Hall Welcomes 2021 With New, Virtual Lineup

Flushing Town Hall unveils an all-new lineup of virtual programs to engage audiences from the warmth and safety of home this new year. Winter 2021 offerings include an arts education series for children in five languages, monthly Jazz Jams, an outdoor community art exhibition, programs celebrating the Lunar Year, a three-part Black History Month series featuring Broadway performers, and professional development workshops and Zoom hangs for artists.

Always the most festive time of year at Flushing Town Hall, the 2021 Lunar Year will celebrate the Year of the Ox with Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Temple Bazaar, title sponsor Tai Wang and Glow Foundation. The event will go virtual for the first time and stream via YouTube on Sunday, February 14 at 2:00 PM. It will feature a feast of Lunar New Year celebrations, including traditional dances by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, a new Chinese hand puppet production by Chinese Theatre Works, paper-cutting, classic new year dish demonstrations, and more, offering different ways for audiences to connect to this most important holiday.

For centuries in China, people have celebrated the Lunar New Year in temple fairs with performances, food, and crafts to conclude the final stretch of a harsh winter and celebrate the pending arrival of spring.

“Last year, our Lunar Year programs coincided with the onset of the pandemic, so we decided to cancel the Temple Bazaar to safeguard our community. This year, we are reviving this beloved event so that we may join together again,” says Minwen Yang, Chair of Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Cultural Committee. “Our community stepped up to take care of one another during dark times, and we are resilient. We will hold this Bazaar virtually because we are still experiencing a pandemic. With the arrival of a new year and after much hardship, we know this lively celebration will lift our spirits.”

In keeping with the theme of the Ox, which is characterized by attributes of strength and determination, Flushing Town Hall will also reopen its community art exhibition, Call and Response: Grief, Resiliency, and Hope in February. To be displayed outdoors along its Northern Boulevard fence, the exhibition first launched in the summer of 2020. This year, members of the community — amateur and professional artists alike — are invited to submit works on the theme and ask themselves: How can I live a courageous life? How can I help build a resilient community? What gives me hope?

Flushing Town Hall will begin accepting new artworks for display on February 1. Participants will be able to hang their works directly on the fence or scan and submit their work by email to: education@flushingtownhall.org.

Another beloved tradition, Flushing Town Hall’s monthly Jazz Jam: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong will continue online with a new theme each month, kicked off this past Wednesday with an early celebration of Martin Luther King Day and a musical theme of “racial justice.”

February’s jazz jam will celebrate Valentine’s Day with the theme of “love songs and funny valentines,” and March’s jam will commemorate Women’s History Month with the theme “luck be a lady!”

Up to 15 musicians may register for each jam to play or sing a tune on the theme by emailing: education@flushingtownhall.org.

The jazz jam’s reputation has steadily grown since it first moved online last year, drawing musicians from countries as far flung as Italy, Australia, and Guyana.

“The pandemic has posed a survival challenge for presenting venues, artists, and performers. We really miss our audiences from all around the tri-state area,” says Ellen Kodadek, Executive & Artistic Director. “However, thanks to technology, we are now able to serve audiences and to engage performers from around the corner and across the globe. We continue to build community through the arts.”

Jazz fans can also look forward to a virtual Lioness: Women in Jazz on Sunday, January 24 at 2:30 PM, featuring The Lioness Ensemble, which is helmed by the Queens-based guitarist and composer Amanda Monaco.

Flushing Town Hall Education will continue to present Global Arts for Global Kids, its arts education video series with at-home activities for young learners and their families. This winter, beginning January 11 and running for nine weeks, Flushing Town Hall will replay its original videos in the series and release the accompanying Activity Worksheets newly translated into four additional languages: Hindi, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.

“Flushing Town Hall provides culturally responsive arts education through our Global Arts for Global Kids programming, and now that we’ve translated content into multiple languages, English language learners across generations and cultures can explore diverse arts and cultures together,” says Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Director of Education & Public Programs. 

Videos will be posted daily, Monday through Thursday, and culminate in family matinee performances on Fridays. Each week covers a new topic and region of the world and includes explorations of Colombian music, Indian and Chinese dance, African drumming, and more!

Additional virtual programs this winter will include a continuation of Flushing Town Hall’s monthly professional development series and weekly Zoom hangs for artists of all disciplines and geographies, who have been working together to advance their work, support, and inspire one another amidst the pandemic.

Kicking off its three-part Black History Trilogy, Flushing Town Hall will present “John Lewis: A Pioneer for Justice” on Friday, February 5 at 7:00 PM. The program will feature Alton Fitzgerald White,a gifted actor who starred in Broadway’s hit show Ragtime and who performed over 4,000 times as Mufasa, “the king of the jungle” in Disney’s production of The Lion King. He will bring to life the legacy of American politician and civil rights leader John Lewis, who coined the phrase “good trouble” in one of his most resilient speeches.

The Trilogy will continue on February 18 with “Divine Sass: A Tribute to the Music, Life, and Legacy of Sarah Vaughan,” featuring Tony Award-winner Lillias White and concludes on February 26 with a surprise special guest.

Looking ahead towards spring, Flushing Town Hall is currently accepting submissions ahead of its February 1 deadline for the second edition of Crazy Talented Asians & Friends – An Evening of Animation Shorts, which premiered with great success in 2020. The 2021 event will take place on Saturday, May 29 in celebration of the APA Heritage Month. Animation filmmakers may submit their shorts for consideration at: https//filmfreeway.com/CTAF

Now in Five Languages: Global Arts for Global Kids for Families At Home

As families hunker down for a winter of homeschool and social distancing, Flushing Town Hall is replaying Season One of its popular, virtual series, Global Arts for Global Kids — now in multiple languages!

Beginning this past Monday, January 11, and running for nine weeks, the series replay presents the original arts education videos featuring Flushing Town Hall’s master Teaching Artists, exploring a different topic each week and offering a total of 45 free lessons:

  • Colombian Music with Martin Vejarano
  • Chinese Dance with Ling Tang
  • Pop-Up Book Making with Spica Wobbe and Karen Oughtred
  • Indian Dance with Abha Roy
  • Mexican Dance with Alberto Lopez
  • African Drumming with Vado Diomande
  • Dance Party in the United States with Angela Rostick
  • Visual Signs of Gratitude with Suzanne DeMarco
  • Stories from Quarantine with Robin Bady

The series is designed to bring artistic traditions from around the world to students and families at home, engaging them in joyful, creative, and cathartic experiences during quarantine.

While the videos were filmed in English, the accompanying Activity Worksheets have been newly translated into four additional languages: Hindi, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.

“Flushing Town Hall provides culturally responsive arts education through our Global Arts for Global Kids programming, and now that we’ve translated content into multiple languages, English language learners across generations and cultures can explore diverse arts and cultures together,” says Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Director of Education & Public Programs. 

Lessons are provided weekly and each week’s lessons will be available every Monday on FTH’s website (can be accessed anytime) and Facebook page at 2 PM EST. Each video lesson will be accompanied by activity worksheets in the above mentioned languages.”

Participants, in turn, are encouraged to post on Facebook short video clips of themselves learning and presenting their work, tagging Flushing Town Hall @flushingtownhall.

For additional enrichment, school groups or families may register for live, virtual workshops (“Meet the Artist” and “Jam with the Artist”) for a small fee of $150 for up to 30 students at a time by emailing: education@flushingtownhall.org. Select workshops are available in dual languages and all will further develop students’ social and emotional skills.

A Virtual Event Showcasing Stories of Kunqu Opera in the United States

On Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 PM, Flushing Town Hall will present a virtual event, Kunqu in America: Memories of Chung-ho Chang Frankel, illustrating how Kunqu opera, the oldest extant version of Chinese theater, took root in the United States by featuring memories of Ms. Chung-ho Chang, one of the most influential Kunqu practitioners throughout the country.

Hailed as “the last female literary talent from China’s Republic Era” after the passing of Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Ms. Chung-ho Chang was born in Shanghai to a big and prestigious family in 1913.  She became a well-known poet, calligrapher, and Kunqu opera singer, and was active in the arts and cultural scene along with her three sisters during the first part of the 20th century. She moved to the U.S. in 1949 with her husband, Hans Frankel, a sinologist who later taught at Yale University and who she met while studying at Peking University.

Ms. Chang planted the seed of Kunqu opera and nurtured the art community while she lived in California and Connecticut. As an amateur devotee of Kunqu, she held Kunqu gatherings in her home, bringing students, actors, musicians, and scholars together to practice Kunqu singing and movements. For decades, she traveled from university to university to promote and demonstrate the art form. In 2001, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed Kunqu a masterpiece of “the oral and intangible heritage of humanity”.  Today, there is a thriving Kunqu opera community throughout the United States.

The virtual event will feature anecdotes of Ms. Chang collected exclusively by the Kunqu Society from interviews with Ms. Chang’s family members, students, and friends, and will showcase several elaborate costumes and musical instruments that were handmade by her. 

The bilingual program (in English and Mandarin) will be told through videos, pictures, and interviews and take place on Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 PM EST. Following the program, there will be a live Q&A featuring guests who appeared in the stories.

Audiences must RSVP in advance to receive a link to watch the event on Zoom or YouTube. To RSVP or to learn more about the program, visit http://www.flushingtownhall.org/kunqu.

Kunqu Society, based in Flushing, was founded in 1988, and is a non-profit corporation with the mission of studying, preserving, and promoting kunqu, an elegant form of traditional Chinese theatre, and is well-known for its exquisite fusing of poetry, music, and movement in performance to present stories and characters.

Celebrate the Holidays with Flushing Town Hall – At Home!

While Flushing Town Hall’s physical venue remains closed for COVID-19 safety measures, the beloved cultural institution will celebrate the December holiday season online this year and invites audiences to participate from the safety of home.

On Sunday, December 6, join FTH Deputy Director Sami Abu Shumays for a walk-through of Flushing Town Hall, which is one of six, historic stops on this year’s virtual HOLLY TOUR of Flushing, Queens, streaming from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

2020 marks the neighborhood’s 375th anniversary, and the YouTube tour will also include visits to the Browne House, the Quaker Friends Meeting House, the Lewis Latimer House, the Voelker Orth Museum, and the Kingsland Homestead.

The 15-minute Flushing Town Hall tour includes a fun, backstage visit to the former jail cell now used as a dressing room for performers and concludes with a solo violin performance from the theatre.

On Wednesday, December 9 at 7:00 PM, Flushing Town Hall presents its Holiday Party-themed VIRTUAL JAZZ JAM: Celebrating the Legacy of Louis Armstrong.

The jam is open to both professional and amateur musicians, including high school students, instrumentalists, and singers. 15 jammers will be selected to perform a three to four-minute holiday tune of their choosing and may play live or share a pre-recorded performance. Jammers are also encouraged to share any personal memories about their tune and to showcase their family’s traditional holiday treats, drinks, and decorations.

Interested participants should email education@flushingtownhall.org to sign up, and ALL members of the public are invited to tune in and celebrate the season!

This has been a challenging year for arts presenters and nonprofit, cultural institutions unable to host audiences in-person during the pandemic. To make up for lost revenue from ticket sales, Flushing Town Hall is offering GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK.

Arts lovers and fans of Flushing Town Hall can donate to its year-end campaign, which is aiming to raise a total of $20,000 for the organization or purchase an FTH Teaching Artist Package to gift someone a truly unique, virtual experience. Gift packages include virtual, watercolor painting lessons, drum set lessons, an Indian cooking class, Chinese dance lessons, framed works of art, and a kit for making shadow puppet theatres at home — to name only a few of the many great gift options.

Presenting a Native Artist Spotlight Panel on Dec. 2

On Wednesday, December 2, Flushing Town Hall, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and NativeTec will present a live Native Artist Spotlight Panel to discuss and showcase their contemporary art and its influence on our history.

Moderated by Tecumseh Ceaser, Matinecock Turkey Clan, with Native American artists living in Queens, the Bronx, Long Island and Colorado, this panel will convene to explore the range of their art and what it means to be Native artist in the 21st century.   

“Often when people think of Native art, they focus on historic pieces or artifacts from the West,” said Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Director of Education and Public Programs at Flushing Town Hall. “However, this panel will dispel that belief and engage dynamic Native artists from New York City and beyond who are still creating modern, traditional, folk art and handicrafts.”

“To be Indigenous is to be resilient; and all these artist’s works show not only the resilience of indigenous people, but that the culture of the first people of this country lives within them and their art gives voice to their ancestors” said Tecumseh Ceasar, who is also the owner of NativeTec, a co-sponsor of the panel.

“This is a magnificent time for the casual and astute observer, to engage and develop a lasting awareness of Indigenous Art and its historic and contemporary significance to our community,” said Courtney Ffrench, Interim Artistic Director at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning.

The event is free and can be viewed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flushingtownhall or Zoom at 7:00 PM EST. Register at: http://www.flushingtownhall.org/nativeartist Flushing Town Hall encourages attendees to explore the panelists’ websites in advance of the discussion and to support the local artists.

Tecumseh Ceaser is a Native American artist and cultural consultant of Matinecock Turkey clan, Wampanoag, Metoac, and Blackfoot descent. Born and raised in Queens, the homeland of the Matinecock, he works in the traditional medium and practice of quahog shell (wampum) carving. His goal is to bring exposure to the indigenous groups of Queens and Long Island and draw attention to the fact that Native American culture and art are not stagnant. He frequently collaborates with local tribes to bring cultural programming to their communities.

As a cultural consultant and Native activist, he currently serves as an advisor for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the United Nations, where he advocates for Indigenous Americans’ rights to member states, NGOs, and other indigenous nations. He provided cultural education to universities, museums, and institutions including St. John’s University, Socrates Sculpture Park, Flushing Town Hall, and NYU. He is in residence at Flushing Town Hall, Socrates Sculpture Park, and IBEX Puppetry.

In addition to Tecumseh Ceaser, the panel will feature:

  • Denise “Weetahmoe” Silva-Dennis (Shinnecock) is a retired Southampton elementary school art teacher. She works with acrylic paints. Her professional achievements include two paintings that were selected for the exhibit “In Beauty It Has Begun…” sponsored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian Institute. She also won the Parrish Art Museum’s Judge’s Award in the painting category. Silva-Dennis is also an accomplished beadwork crafts woman. The traditional Eastern Woodland style of beadwork was handed down to her from the elder women of the Shinnecock and Hassanamisco-Nipmuc Nations. Her work includes necklace and earring sets, beaded medicine fans, walking sticks, and beaded cradleboards. Her beaded necklaces have been shown at the Louise Himelfarb Gallery and at The Studio Connection, both in Southampton. Several Native American exhibitors carry an assortment of her beaded creations to Powwows throughout the Northeastern United States.
  • Lydia Chavez (Unkechaug/Blood) from Long Island is currently in Denver, Colorado. Her prime focus is on handmade Wampum jewelry, made from Quahog clam shell, while her other works include painting, beading, lapidary work and traditional Native American craft. Chavez creates contemporary pieces using Wampum, a material with a history revered by Indigenous groups, non-Native shell artists, historians and the like. She combines traditional materials and techniques with modern lapidary technology and unique designs. The inspiration for these pieces has always been to represent Wampum in a respectful manner while showcasing the natural, inherent beauty of the shell but also focusing on the growth and development of the modern Native culture. She has lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has works in several museums, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the New York State museum in Albany, the USFW Long Island Wertheim Center, and a private collection of several belts commissioned by the Seneca Nation. She has made custom wampum belts for private collectors, one of which was sent to be held at the frontlines during the Standing Rock protests. She is working with the Field Museum in Chicago on a two-row replica Wampum Belt and as a collaborative advisor for a new wampum exhibit. She has made jewelry for films and has sent pieces all over the world.
  • Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock), a contemporary fine art photographer and a tribal member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton, NY. In his work, he explores indigenous identity, culture, and assimilation. Dennis holds an MFA from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and a BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University, NY. He currently lives and works in Southampton, New York on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.
  • Tohanash Tarrant (Shinnecock) – From a young age, she shadowed her mother while she sat quietly for hours beading hair ties, lacing shawls, and sewing applique. From the time she could walk, she was taking part in traditional dances at gatherings such as powwows and socials. Now with two children of her own, her attentions have turned from dancing fancy shawl herself, to beading and sewing dance outfits for her children and beading jewelry. In 2016, she launched Thunderbird Designs, a small business featuring handcrafted items made by family members as well as various Shinnecock artists. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, she has applied her sewing skills to creating fabric face masks. She and her team at Thunderbird Designs have given away hundreds of these handmade masks to community members in need. As a teacher and artist, she hopes to share the beauty of her traditions and living culture so that it may be passed down for generations to come.

Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York, and the first people of Flushing, Queens, who continue to live and work on this land to this day.