From the time he founded Shaolin Temple USA five years ago, Master Shi Yanran, our Executive Director, had envisioned a Buddhist Chant Choir for students, family and friends. To celebrate Shaolin Temple USA’s fifth birthday, a choir is born. We are introducing this unique component of Shaolin culture to share the joy and benefits of Buddhist chanting with our extended Shaolin family.
About Buddhist Chants
Buddhist music originated from ancient India. A Buddhist chant is a form of musical verse. In Buddhism, chanting is a traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation; especially as part of formal practice, in either a lay or monastic context. Some forms of Buddhism also use chanting for ritualistic purposes.
Buddhist Chants are voiced in a light, gentle and compassionate state of mind in praise of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. It is an important form of spiritual cultivation.. Chants are sometimes accompanied by chimes, bells, drums, wooden fish and simple wind instruments. Buddhist chanting is one of the most important vocal musical forms.
For Master Yanran, mantra and sutra chanting is a way of life since childhood. “It’s all part of Shaolin Kung Fu Chan culture,” he remarked. “We believe in the union of body and mind. Kung Fu builds a strong body while chanting cultivates the spirit. It helps us focus and dispell extraneous thoughts. It is an effective way to relieve stress and calm our mind. Chanting takes us through a blissful journey of the heart. Chanting also helps us regulate our breaths and build Qi that enhances internal energy to complement external strength. I invite you, your family, schoolmates, friends and neighbors to chant with us for enjoyment and all the benefits that come with it. We wish everyone health and happiness by making the journey together for a collective experience of contentment and peace.”
Our Voice Coach and Conductor
We are delighted to have pianist and vocalist Ms. Ami Zhou serving as voice coach and conductor of our choir. Ms. Zhou received her Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sichuan Conservatory of Music, both in Piano Performance. She also trained in Folk Vocal Performance under the mentorship of Professor Chongyi Liu at the Sichuan Conservatory for ten years. Sichuan Conservatory of music is one of China’s top 3 music conservatories, where Ms. Zhou was a member of the faculty before arriving in the United States for graduate studies.
Weekly Practice Schedule & Locations
- 9 weekly practices starting Oct. 6, 2012
Every Saturday • 7:30 - 9:30 pm
Dates: 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 12/1, 12/8/, 12/15
- Locations: Alternate between Shaolin Temple USA Culture Centers in San Francisco and Fremont, CA.
1st meeting: 10/6/12, 7:30 pm at Shaolin Temple Culture Center, San Francisco
- 6 years or older
- Students, families, alumni and friends, all are welcome
- No prior vocal training or choir experience required, and most of us have none. But if you do, you will be a great asset to the choir.
- Fees: $25 per person for a total of 9 2-hour lessons on above dates. This amount also pays for sheet music for our choir members.
The Choir will debut at a joint performance by our Sifus and students from California and Virginia at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, 3:00 pm. Shaolin Temple USA’s Sifus will join the performance. We will also invite the audience to sing along.
The choir will learn 2-3 chants/songs in Sanskrit for this performance. Srinivas Kadaba, a long-time student student at our Fremont Center has been helping us with Sanskrit pronunciation. There will be print-outs of romanized versions of the chants to help us memorize the verses.
We will provide demo clips of the chants for everyone to familiarize with the chants. These clips will be emailed to members of the choir.
It will be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Please sign up at the front desk, send email to ShaolinTempleUSA@ShaolinUSA.us, or call 415-666-9966 / 510-818-9966.