Gellionnen School choir joins children from the Swansea Chinese community in a debut singing performance during the forthcoming Dragon Boat Festival


Over the past month, Year 5 and 6 pupils from Gellionnen school have been polishing up their Chinese and preparing to take part in an important event in the Chinese calendar. The Dragon Boat Festival is an annual event which in China is marked by celebrations, boat racing and commemoration of the renowned ancient poet, Qu Yuan.

Côr Ysgol Gellionnen yn ymuno â phlant o gymuned Tsieineaidd Abertawe yn eu  perfformiad canu cyntaf yn ystod Gŵyl Cychod y Ddraig cyn bo hir

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David Confucius Institute (UWTSD CI) will celebrate the 2023 Chinese Dragon Boat Festival on 18 June at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea with a morning of performances of songs and poetry by children from the Confucius Institute Chinese School, and an afternoon of Chinese culture workshops open to the general public. The event is a celebration not just for the Swansea Chinese School but the whole Swansea community.

The Chinese School, which meets every weekend during term time, was founded by the UWTSD Confucius Institute in 2016 to provide Chinese heritage children in South Wales with an education that connects them to their language and culture. Post-pandemic, the school has 120 pupils aged 5 to 18. To celebrate the Dragon boat festival the children have been learning classical Chinese poems and popular songs.

As a truly cross-cultural, community-oriented event, pupils from Gellionnen School have formed Wales’ first children’s Mandarin choir and have been invited to take part as special guests. They will give their first public performance of the Chinese songs they have been learning with UWTSD CI teacher, Cindy Chen.

Gellionnen School Headteacher, Kevin Davies said: “We are delighted to receive an invitation to be a part of the Dragon Boat festival and are very much looking forward to performing in harmony within the multicultural world in which we now live in our local community.

"Gellionnen school has created a very strong bond between the Confucius Institute and its pupils over the last four years with Mr Niles Guo laying firm foundations from which the pupils have been able to flourish under the guidance of Mrs Cindy Chen. 

“With her vision and creativity, the pupils have engaged thoroughly, learning about the culture and traditions through practical experiences such as outdoor games and activities.”

He said pupils have developed the ability to read simple texts and are becoming more familiar with the rules of grammar and tone.

“Having learned the verses of Silent Night in 4 different languages including Mandarin for the 2022 Christmas concert the concept of developing a Chinese choir was born and in April an exciting development saw the creation of a Mandarin Choir with pupils from years 4 ,5 and 6 participating in weekly singing sessions.” 

Yu Liu Co-director of the Confucius Institute at UWTSD added: "I hope that this will be a great opportunity when Welsh pupils can sing together with the Heritage Chinese pupils, which can also testify that the beauty of the culture can be equally shared by people regardless of where they come from, and the sharing will pass on from generation to generation".

Reciting classical songs and poems is the traditional activity for Chinese people to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival through the ages.

“We hope this event will provide an opportunity for the Chinese Sunday School pupils and their parents to appreciate the beautiful Chinese classical literature, and also bring an immersive atmosphere of the Chinese traditional festivity to the local community".

During the afternoon part of the Dragon Boat Festival programme, Chinese cultural workshops organised by Confucius Institute staff and volunteers will be delivered, including paper-cutting, calligraphy, Chinese costumes and Chinese instruments. 

For more information contact Krystyna Krajewska k.krajewska or Lisa Liu

Further Information

Lowri Thomas, Principal Communications and PR Officer

07449 998476