Along with her duties of teaching Tai Chi, Self Defense, and Chinese Martial Arts classes at Ursinus College, adjunct instructor Betsy Chapman is a superb harpist. Her most recent notable venue was at the close of the London Olympic Games.
Betsy found the crowd friendly and welcoming. She enjoyed seeing the athletes – but one of her favorite memories will be spending Saturday afternoon “jamming” with musicians from around the world. She played with musicians from France, Norway, the Czech Republic, Germany and the U.K. “I was amazed at the number of tunes we all knew that cross boundaries,” says Chapman. “Someone would start a song and we’d go around the circle and each person would sing a verse in their language. It was a great reminder that the Olympics brings the world together, not only through sport but also through the connections and cultural experiences we share during the Games.”
In her classes at Ursinus, Chapman emphasizes the importance of looking at the material in a cultural context. “If we’re studying Tai Chi, for example, we won’t really understand the depth of the practice unless we know something about where and why it was developed. I really appreciate the emphasis Ursinus puts on cross- disciplinary studies. I went to London as a musician, but while there I was able to enjoy seeing some top athletes, and participate in part of a literary conference all in one (packed) trip. My experience was richer because I was able to appreciate multiple facets of the event.”
Learning and incorporating multiple interests into life provides for a great balance and allows an individual to develop a positive attitude when dealing with life’s challenges, says Chapman. It’s a belief she tries to convey to her students, too.