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February 28 Incident 77th Anniversary Commemoration Series of Events

Taipei City Government-affiliated Taipei Memorial Foundation of 228 (二二八紀念館) has planned a series of events for the 77th anniversary of the February 28 Incident (二二八事件), including concerts and commemorative gatherings. Through performances and memorial ceremonies, the events are intended to bid farewell to sorrow, embrace feelings of positivity and unity, heal pain, and bring communities closer together. The hope is that everyone participating in the events will gain a closer understanding of the significance of the impact of the February 28 Incident on Taiwan, and how the intelligentsia time sacrificed their lives for democracy.

Forward to the New Century, Singing the Road to Peace

The theme for this year’s concerts and commemorations is “Forward to the New Century, Singing the Road to Peace” (前瞻新世紀 歌詠和平路). Music is used to seek beauty in various forms, including the beauty of sound, movement, and humanity. The concerts will bring together both historical figures and descendants of victims of the February 28 Incident, with the goal of turning every musical note into a flower in people’s hearts. The intention is to make the people on the island of Formosa become one, helping each other with love and sincerity, dispelling hate, creating a lasting peace, and realizing the inscription on the monument: “Heaven blesses the Treasure Island, everlasting for ten thousand generations (天佑寶島,萬古長青).”

Musical Feast

In the past, musical extravaganzas were held in the outdoor plaza of the Memorial Foundation of 228 in Taipei. However, in view of the ongoing restoration and renovation work at the memorial, this year’s musical celebration will take place on the evening of Tuesday 27  February at 7:30 pm in the Zhongzheng Auditorium (中正廳) of Taipei Zhongshan Hall (臺北市中山堂). In the first half, the conductor Chia-Hung Liao (廖嘉弘) will lead the Taipei Century Symphony Orchestra (台北世紀交響樂團), with performances by relatives of victims of the February 28 Incident. The intention is to use artistic interpretation to convey the historical legacy to the next generation, creating art together in a mutually responsive manner to honour these difficult memories and integrate them into the life experiences of a new generation. 

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In the second half, the Taipei Century Symphony Orchestra together with the Wanfang Hospital Chorus (萬芳醫院合唱團) , under the direction of Professor Shu-Fang Lai (賴淑芳), will perform the symphony “February 28 Democracy Hymn” (二二八民主頌). Composed by Taiwanese composer Yao-Kuang Chung (鍾耀光), with lyrics by France-based artist Hsin-I Ho (何欣怡), this work will be performed as a solo by soprano singer Associate Professor Hui-Ju Chen (陳慧如). 

“February 28 Democracy Hymn” is a collaborative work that includes five movements: “Dawn March”, “First Sound”, “Flowing Toast”, “Family Emblem”, and “Passing Torch” (曉行、先聲、流觴、家徽、傳炬). In musical evocation of the 228 Incident, the music alternates between passionate heroism and tender lyricism, accompanied by the melodious choir singing the soaring glory of the family emblem. The piece helps the listener to understand how precious democracy can be in turbulent times. It has been crafted to elevate pain through music, spread the true essence of democracy, bid farewell to sorrow, leaving sadness in the past and moving forwards together towards a future full of brightness and hope. Let us surround every wounded heart with love.

Commemorative Remembrance

A commemoration and memorial event for the victims of the February 28 Incident is planned for Wednesday 28 February this year. The theme is “Forward to the New Century, Singing the Road to Peace”. Relatives of victims have been invited to attend. It is hoped that by coming together in a peaceful, respectful, and loving way, we can collectively face the pain of loss and raise public awareness and support, continuing the search for truth and seeking social understanding and reconciliation.

The memorial event will begin with the soothing, gentle music of the Taipei Camerata (臺北弦樂重奏團), followed by a modern dance performance by Chun-Ling Hsiao Dance Theater (蕭君玲舞蹈劇場) of “Love and Hope” (愛與希望), based on the poem “Love and Hope Song” (愛與希望之歌) by Min-Yung Li (李敏勇). Then, the host will ask attendees to observe a moment of silence while the peace bell rings, as we console each other and remember the sacrifices made by the February 28 Incident victims for the advancement of Taiwan’s democracy.

After 77 years, thanks to the perseverance of a wide variety of social actors, the taboo of the February 28 Incident, laden with shattered lives and the tears of countless victims’ families, has been broken. Today, dignitaries from all walks of life gather together to commemorate the February 28 Incident, hoping to draw more attention to it and deepen understanding of the impact of this historical event and the profound meaning and lessons it conveys.

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