To: East Meets West Music Arts
Music creates the best way of communication with people from all nations. The City of Naperville welcomes the opportunity to enjoy music from the heart. East Meets West Music Arts program is created and conducted by Dr. Fengshi Yang. It provides us the opportunity for fellowship with people from all over the world to listen to first class music. Naperville is fortunate to have ten percent of its population from the Asian Community.
Thank you for communicating peace through beautiful music. You bring us hope for a better understanding of the Chinese and East culture and a desire for peace in this troubled world.
A. George Pradel
Mayor of Naperville
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the birth of EMW. It began as a dream and a sense of mission germinated in the mind of Dr. Fengshi Yang while she was finishing her studies at the University of Chicago as the first Mainland Chinese woman to earn a Ph.D. in music composition in the United States. The dream was to use her creativity and knowledge of music to build a bridge of understanding between the cultures of East and West.
Serving as founder, music director and conductor, Dr. Yang has guided the development of EMW to present numerous genres of musical programs in our communities. Over the years, EMW not only has provided special performance opportunities to many highly skilled professional and amateur musicians, its concerts also have enhanced understanding and appreciation of our differences, have broaden our musical experiences and enriched our community’s cultural life.
As a pioneer organization in “Bridging East and West through Music Arts”, we at EMW have watched the concept of "East Meets West" grow evermore popular and important over these past 10 years, and we are very pleased to note that this phenomena has spread in many corners of the musical world as seen in a variety of other venues.
In observing the tenth anniversary of EMW we say "Thank You" to Dr. Yang who through her unfailing dedication and commitment has served so well as the organizer and inspiration of the many talented people who make EMW an important cultural asset.
I wish to extend congratulations and appreciation to all those who have contributed to building and supporting this wonderful endeavor, and we especially thank North Central College for their long-term support and collaboration.
What a treat it is to once again host the spring concert of East Meets West Music Arts (EMW) at Pfeiffer Hall on the North Central College campus! The nearly decade-long partnership between Dr. Fengshi Yang, her remarkable orchestra, and this historic, 141-year-old college is something we greatly value. The mission of EMW — to bridge East and West through music arts — is one that this college has long embraced … not just in the arts, but throughout our educational program. The receipt in December of a nearly $3/4 million grant from the Freeman Foundation to, among other things, strengthen the College’s Chinese language program, our outreach efforts among Asians and Asian-Americans in Chicago’s western suburbs, and our study abroad opportunities in China and East Asia is just the latest manifestation of North Central’s commitment to providing such an educational bridge.
Those efforts take on particular significance this year, in the wake of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Never have initiatives to bridge cultural gaps seemed more vital to the future of our planet. It is both fitting and moving that Dr. Yang and the orchestra will debut a piece of newly arranged music at its April 7 concert — with 40 singers adding their talents to the EMW — dedicated to the thousands of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, including Naperville-born Naval Commander Daniel Shanower, whose family has long ties to this college.
I am pleased that the North Central College Office of International Programs can be host to this wonderful concert, culminating our year-long college-wide focus on the Pacific Rim … and grateful to Dr. Fengshi Yang, the members of the East Meets West Music Arts ensemble, and all the supporters of EMW for the powerful witness and living reminder this orchestra provides that no boundary, wall, or terrorist act can separate us from the meaning we find in our common humanity and the joy we share in fine music and art.
North Central College
As my homeland, China is always deep in my heart. No one and no authority can ever take it away from me. For almost nine years I have not been allowed to go back to China, certainly, I miss the land where I grew up; I miss my family, my friends, my teachers and my neighbors...
Yet, Sept. 11 has brought me ever closer to the land where I am now living. For the first time, I feel strongly such pride and a deep connection to this wonderful land. My journey of longing for home finally has reached a new dimension ---- I have found my home, a new home, it’s called America. It is right here, and right in this lovely town, Naperville. When I learned that a 40-year-old Naperville-born Navy Commander Dan Shanower, was killed in the Sept 11 attack, I felt that we had lost a dear family member. I wanted to sing a song, a loving song for him, and for all the Sept. 11 victims.
For many of you, the music you hear today may seem familiar, but also fresh; for others, it maybe exotic, but, it will not feel strange. The coming together of East and West can be felt as we become truly connected through the music of today's program.
Today's music not only brings back many vivid memories and comforts us along the way of nostalgia; it also takes us on a new journey of longing for a better future.
Music has no nationality, no boundaries; music does not need a visa to travel, music can cross over through time and space. In music, we meet, we share, we cry, and we laugh...
As the beautiful spring season approaches, let's be grateful for what we have; and remember those who are no longer with us; let music help us reach our loved ones who are far away from us, and let music echo in every corner of the world.
A fifth anniversary concert is a remarkable event, especially when you think about all the people who have made these five years of music making possible.
From the musicians to the general staff and volunteers to our most generous sports, East Meets West Music Arts is a labor of love founded on the desire to create a bridge between Eastern and Western cultures and comminutes.
In out first handful of years, we have presented traditional Chinese music performed on many traditional Chinese instruments and on the instruments of the modern western orchestra as well. Our composers have created and arranged numerous pieces for the group. Our vocalists have performed in many languages, and our soloists and ensemble have performed in many styles. Music from many corners of the world and many eras and circumstance has enriched our programs.
Our roster of performers and patrons include Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Chinese- Americans, and other “hyphenated” Americans of many varieties. We are young and fresh and we are older and well forged in the school of life. We all love music and want to share it with others.
Who can forget Robin Wang, a man with a potent personality, and an astonishing performer? We think him for bringing to us one of our first very large audiences. Other guest artists have also contributed their following to our audiences ---most notably Chicago musicians Elizabeth Cifani and John Bruce Yeh. And finally, each one of us has broadened our reach into the community by bringing our own families, friends, colleagues, and teachers to EMW concerts.
Thank you all for your help and support. Special thanks to our music director, Dr. Fengshi Yang, who have given life to EMW by contributing so much of her life to the ensemble and to our communities.
Joanne Galler, Vice President