ALL ARE WELCOME The second week in September is Welcoming Week at Mt. Lebanon Public Library. Welcoming Week is a product of Welcoming America, a national nonprofit dedicated to bringing immigrants and their new neighbors together.
This year, the library is celebrating the art and culture of China. At 7 p.m., on Wednesday, September 14, musician Mimi Jong will present a concert in the library courtyard featuring the erhu, an ancient, two-string Chinese bowed instrument.
Jong has a diverse musical background acquired from growing up in Indonesia, being educated in Germany, and immigrating to the United States. Since age 11, she has been performing on the erhu. Moving beyond tradition, Jong has performed with jazz, folk and classical musicians, conducted educational workshops, and performed at music festivals. She was a recipient of a Master Artists and Tradition Bearers Award from Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in 2014.
At 2 p.m., Saturday, September 17, on the Southminster Manse Lawn, Chris Young and the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Troupe will perform the Lion Dance. Young is the owner of Gong Lung or Steel Dragon, a martial arts and lion dance studio in Ice House Studios in Lawrenceville.
The dance has at least 1,000 years of history, and is traditionally performed during Lunar New Year and other celebrations.
According to Young, one of the dance’s more popular origin stories is that an Emperor of China had a dream where a creature resembling a lion saved his life from evil spirits. When he woke, he declared the lion a symbol of good fortune. However, since lions are not native to China, artisans had no idea what they look like. As a result, they fashioned an animal with the attributes of other fortunate creatures: the dragon, the phoenix and the dog.
The Lion Dance is now an integral part of not just Chinese culture, but of many Southeast Asian cultures such as Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese.
DEMOCRACY IN ACTION Mt. Lebanon High School history teacher Pete DiNardo and Mike Naragon, chair of the history department at Winchester Thurston, will present the first of two programs from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, September 12, in the library’s Meeting Room A.
The program, an introduction to voting rights history, will focus on the legislative history of voting rights and will explore the breadth of this history from the 19th century through the current cases the Supreme Court will be dealing with this fall (Moore v. Harper and independent state legislature theory). There will be a 30-minute audience Q & A following the 60-minute talk. Registration is required.
The second part of the series is an informal discussion on the midterm elections, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, and will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 11, in Meeting Room A. Registration is required.
The library is planning a third program in this series for the end of October, to be determined. You can stay in the loop by signing up for the library’s adult newsletter.
Beginning this month, the library will be sending out regular newsletters related to voting information updates.