Group Makes Friends in China
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“Group Makes Friends in China,” Ensign, Sept. 1982, 77

Group Makes Friends in China

Earlier this year, BYU students in the performing group the Lamanite Generation made friends for Brigham Young University and for the Church in locations from Hawaii to the People’s Republic of China.

Starting their tour April 28, the group first performed in Hawaii, next traveled to Taiwan, and then visited the People’s Republic of China. They then performed in the Philippines and Hong Kong, concluding their tour June 6.

Members of the Lamanite Generation include Indians from areas of North America, natives or descendants of natives of the Pacific isles, and representatives from Mexican and South American cultures. Its fast-paced musical variety show includes numbers representing all of their cultures.

The fourth BYU performing group to visit the People’s Republic of China in four years, the thirty-member group and five technical crew members spent almost three weeks there, where they were joined by Elder Neal A. Maxwell and his wife, Colleen. They began their visit with performances at Beijin’s noted Red Tower Theatre. They also performed in northeastern China, the first American entertainment troupe allowed to do so in recent years, as far as members of the group could learn.

In the BYU students, the Chinese found not only artistic ability and friendliness, but also high moral standards that impressed them greatly, Elder Maxwell reported. According to Elder Maxwell, the shared experiences left both the members of the Lamanite Generation and their Chinese hosts with “feelings of love that transcend culture and country.”

Audiences were enthusiastic throughout the People’s Republic. Appearances by BYU touring groups who visited that nation in 1979, 1980, and 1981 have made BYU one of the best-known of American universities among the Chinese.

Throughout their tour the group reached thousands of people in live theater performances, impromptu concerts, and the Honolulu May Day parade. Through taped television appearances in Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijin, Harbin, and Canton, they will reach additional audiences numbering in the millions.

Cindy Young (right), of Hawaii enjoys a moment with a Chinese friend during the Lamanite Generation’s visit to the People’s Republic of China this past spring. (Photography by Mark Philbrick.)