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Melodies of Hope: Empowering Children in Mountainous Areas through the Power of Music

LifestyleMelodies of Hope: Empowering Children in Mountainous Areas through the Power of Music

A choir of 44 children from a mountainous county in Hebei province sang the Olympic Anthem during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Deng Xiaolan, their teacher, led the children to the center stage. Deng, born in Fuping, left to study and work, but always kept Fuping in her thoughts. In 2003, Deng returned to Fuping and met a group of children who did not have a teacher to teach them to sing.

Fuping was a poor county with no conditions for the students to learn music. The primary school in Malan village had classrooms with shabby adobe houses, poor quality wood desks and chairs, and no teachers for music. Deng was heartbroken to see the children without a teacher to teach them to sing. So, she volunteered to teach the children herself.

Deng’s gentle demeanor and kind-heartedness quickly won the children over. She spent time teaching them the basics of music and song. She also encouraged them to be creative and express themselves. The children soon became proficient in singing and performing, and their confidence grew.

Deng’s choir became famous, and the children performed at various events across the country. In 2019, they were invited to perform at the opening ceremony of the National Skiing Championships in Zhangjiakou. The children’s performance was stunning, and they caught the attention of the Olympic Winter Games organizing committee. The committee invited them to perform at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and they became the first choir to sing the Olympic Anthem in the Games’ history.

Deng’s dedication and hard work had paid off, and the children from Malan village had realized their dreams. The children’s performance at the Olympic Winter Games was not just a momentous occasion for them but also a source of inspiration and hope for many others in China and around the world.

Deng Xiaolan often thought about the children in Malan village after returning to Beijing. She believed that music could provide children with infinite possibilities in life. She decided to return to Malan village to teach the children to sing and founded a choir. Deng, who devoted 18 years of her retirement to teaching the children music, raised money to renovate the primary school classrooms and collected musical instruments to help students cultivate a love for their motherland and hometown.

As the poverty alleviation campaign kicked off in Fuping, changes took place quickly in the locality. Deng led the villagers to renovate toilets and plant trees, promoting a beautiful, clean, and harmonious village. She initiated the “Malan Children’s Music Festival” in August 2013, which aimed to allow children from the village to join arts troupes from across the country to perform and sing about their beautiful new life.

With the help of Deng, the 44 children from Malan village in Fuping county were selected to perform at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Deng and the children made their way from the depths of the Taihang Mountains to the center of the stage, and their singing voices touched the hearts of the world. Deng Xiaolan, with her graceful manner, grey hair, and always-wearing sweet smile, became the representative of teachers in the countryside and her story inspired many people.

The legacy of Deng Xiaolan continues to inspire and impact the residents of Malan village, Fuping county, Hebei Province. Her love for music and her unwavering dedication to enriching the lives of the children in her hometown led to the creation of a choir, which became world-famous after performing at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Deng Xiaolan’s selfless contributions brought about a series of changes, transforming the village into a prosperous and beautiful community.

After retiring, Deng made it her mission to teach the children in Malan village music. She believed that music had the power to cultivate a love for the motherland and hometown while inspiring children to pursue their dreams. In the beginning, the students didn’t know how to sing or play any musical instruments, but that did not stop Deng from taking on the challenge of creating a choir. She renovated the classrooms, collected various musical instruments, and led the choir, guiding the students with patience and care. With her devotion and selflessness, the children began to sing with passion and confidence, which attracted the attention of people from all over China.

As the music program expanded, the Malan Children’s Music Festival was initiated in August 2013. This annual event helped create a platform for the students to showcase their talents and was a way to encourage and inspire them. The festival grew in popularity, attracting the attention of the directing team of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which extended an invitation for the choir to perform at the event’s opening and closing ceremonies.

The success of the Malan Children’s Music Festival was a testament to the positive changes that Deng had brought to the village. The village had undergone significant transformations, and a new generation of children was growing up with the knowledge and love of music. Deng’s love for music has continued to resonate with the people of Malan village. Nowadays, on the music square of Malan village, the songs Deng taught the students can be heard, and music education is in full swing. Her legacy has left a deep impression, inspiring the villagers to take an active interest in promoting cultural activities, including music.

One of Deng’s pupils, Sun Zhixue, is a living example of the power of Deng’s teachings. Sun had learned music from Deng when she was a child and later pursued a master’s degree in music education, citing Deng as her role model. Sun returned to Malan village during the summer vacation of 2022 to teach the children to sing and prepare for the “Malan Children’s Music Festival.” Sun’s teaching exemplifies Deng’s vision, which has become a lifelong pursuit for the people of Malan village. Sun spoke of how Deng was like a beam of light, leading them to chase their dreams, and she aims to do the same for the next generation.

Deng Xiaolan’s dedication to her community, her love of music, and her vision of a better life for the children of Malan village, have left an indelible mark on the village. Her contributions have transformed the village, inspiring people to take up music, and have led to the creation of a cultural hub. Deng’s vision and her pupils’ enthusiasm will ensure that the love of music will continue to light up the dreams of children in Malan village for generations to come.

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