Music Student Composes Song for Chinese New Year Parade

Academy of Art University is proud to celebrate the Year of the Rooster with an outstanding student collaboration honoring the tenth Chinese zodiac sign and its emphasis on perfectionism and loyalty. The Academy has been a long-time sponsor and participant in the Chinese New Year parade, giving students the opportunity to be a part of this popular event which is the largest of its kind outside of Asia.

The parade will feature an array of vibrant floats, costumes, firecrackers, and guest appearances representing the arts and cultural aspects of San Francisco and the Chinese community. Among many notable student contributions—including costumed performers from the Academy’s School of Acting and sculptures from the School of Fine Art-Sculpture—the float includes original music composed entirely by Jia Shi, who is studying for her MFA in the School of Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media.

“I feel like music is really a tool that can help people [reach a] healthy, better life,” Shi said.

Shi spent two weeks creating the music for the Academy’s float that will appear during the Chinese New Year parade. She heard about the opportunity from her friend and fellow Academy alumnus Jason Kuo, who composed the music for the university’s Year of the Monkey float.

“Jason was working a lot with me last year for the Year of the Monkey,” Bob Toy, publications and special events project manager at the Academy, said. “He was using hip-hop and Chinese music, but the Rooster is something I want to be more traditional. I really want instruments that we can identify as Chinese instruments.”

Emphasizing more percussion and other traditional Chinese instruments, Shi composed a song expressing symbolism of the Year of the Rooster. Guided by their instincts and commitment, roosters are said to be very observant, sociable, and highly motivated. Shi captured the spirit of the rooster by incorporating elements representing the zodiac sign’s luck, determination, and success. With 10 tracks of percussion instruments, Shi’s song flows through the rooster in battle and its pathway toward success.

“The rooster does not only stand for luck, but also there’s a kind of rooster that gets to be the victor,” Shi said. “I expressed more of that kind of spirit.”

The float will appear at the Chinese New Year parade on Feb. 11. The Academy has been recognized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce with the Most Artistic Float Award each year since 2014.

The Academy salutes the Year of the Rooster and is proud to continue their tradition of commemorating a new year with the San Francisco community.