Metro station's music corner hosts 500th show

The music corner at the People's Square Metro Station was established in 2013. It aims at promoting cultural experience and exchange.

Composer Gong Tianpeng plays a piano during a charity show at the People's Square Metro Station on Saturday. This was the 500th charity show; such shows are held every weekend at the subway station's "music corner."

The People’s Square Metro Station “music corner” put on its 500th show on Saturday as part of the city’s Metro Arts Festival.

The free shows staged there every weekend have become very popular with the public. The area in the transit lobby near the No. 18 exit of the station was already crowded with people an hour before the latest show started.

A young boy who identified himself only as Jiapeng said he and his father came to the station ahead of time.

“Thirty free tickets were released online on Friday,” said Jiapeng. “But we missed out, so we came early today to see if we could get one here.”

The one-hour shows draw many well-known artists. Young composer Gong Tianpeng played the piano portion of his new symphony on Saturday, and elocutionists Song Huaiqiang and Cai Jinping recited the poem “Chinese Dream.”

Many of the audience were elderly residents. One old man kept the tempo of the music by tapping his hand during the piano recital. He said he has been attending music corner performances almost every weekend since 2014.

“I enjoy musical plays, Yueju Opera, recitations and dances,” said the old man, who identified himself only as Gu. “I’m glad the music corner is such a success and will continue.”

Shanghai Metro started the music corner in 2013, with shows every Saturday and Sunday, in cooperation with institutions such as the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

It has also become a showcase for foreign performing artists. In 2014, a Mexican troupe delighted audiences with Latin-style music.

“I still remember that one,” Gu said of the performance. “I’ve never felt such vibes from music, and I reckon I never would have had the chance without this music corner.”

The deputy consul-general of Mexico in Shanghai hailed the music corner as a great way to promote cultural exchange.

“It’s more than just a stage,” said Matt Knowles, director of culture and education at the British Council in Shanghai, which has worked with the music corner twice and is planning another event next year. “It’s a commitment to keep bringing cultural experiences to people.”

He added: “I think what’s so special is that Shanghai Metro has turned a commercial space into a cultural one, giving people a chance to pause and reflect.”

On Tuesday at the East Nanjing Road Metro Station, a photography exhibition will be held as the final event of the six-month Metro Arts Festival. Its theme is “Shanghai to Paris, Lives in Stations.”

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