Two Cultures: One Dream

Two Cultures: One Dream
Monday, Feb 16, 2015
7:00 PM
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall
Jie Yi, DCINY Debut Conductor
Xian Xinghai: Yellow River Cantata
Featuring Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International
Jonathan Griffith, DCINY Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
Earnestine Rodgers Robinson, Visiting Composer
Robinson: Exodus, World Premiere
Featuring Distinguished Concerts Orchestra and Distinguished Concerts Singers International
Ana Isabel Lazo, Mezzo-Soprano
Ting Li, Tenor
Chai-lun Yueh, Baritone
Tshombe Selby, Tenor
Brian Wahlstrom, Baritone
Pastor James T. Meeks, Narrator
Michelle McKissack, Narrator
Contact us about this concert and future performance opportunities.

Participating Ensembles:

Austin Chinese Choir
The Music Association of Auckland
Calgary Zhi Yin Choir
Kang Hua Singers of Greater Hartford (CT)
RTP Chinese American Chorus NC
Providence St Mel Choir
Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble
Soul Umoja
College of Lake County Chamber Singers
Salem Baptist Church of Chicago/Chicago Voices United
Palatine Children's Chorus

Austin Chinese Choir

Austin Chinese Choir group
Chung-Hwa Chen
Chung-Hwa Chen first became a music lover as a young child learning the piano. Later as a teenager, she served as a volunteer piano accompanist for a local Taiwanese choir. In 1999, Chung-Hwa was able to continue her passion for music by establishing and serving as conductor for the Austin Chinese Choir. The Austin Chinese Choir is now celebrating its 16th year as a well-respected community ensemble. Chung-Hwa has led the Austin Chinese Choir to perform in concerts across Texas in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, and even abroad in Taiwan. 
Austin Chinese Choir, established in 1991, is a highly distinguished mixed-voice choir. Since Mrs. Chung-Hwa Chen took up the conductor’s baton in 1998, the choir has steadily improved every year and is well-known in Austin and many Chinese communities across US. We have been invited to perform in major cities throughout Texas and even as far as Taiwan. In addition to hosting biennial concerts, the choir actively participates in many community events. Among our members, there are several husband/wife, mother/son or daughter, and brother/sister pairs. Recently we have welcomed members of 2nd-generation Chinese descendants and Americans of no Chinese origin. The choir is like a big music family. We are team-oriented, warm, pleasant, and care for each other.

The Music Association of Auckland

Iris Cheng
Iris Cheng
Iris Cheng - President and founder of The Music Association of Auckland in 2002. Advisory Board & Honorary member of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra since 2003, Chief Adjudicator of Auckland Chinese singing competition events, Co-Chair of Yellow River Cantata with Manukau Symphony Orchestra - 2009, an active music promoter in the Chinese community, coordinating with professional musicians to perform in NZ from Hong Kong and China, supported by the Ministry of Culture PR China, Confucius Institute, NZ Arts Festival and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
The Music Association of Auckland is a non-profit organisation founded in 2002, their members are ethnic Chinese from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Europe. They aim to use music as a bridge to enhance communication amongst members, to take part in music activities, to support and heighten opportunities of music participation in our communities. MAA also provides a platform for performance, and enjoy fellowship through music, particularly our new migrants to integrate with people of the mainstream community. The Association is devoted to developing diversity of different cultures in New Zealand.

Calgary Zhi Yin Choir

Shana Yang
Shana Xue Jia Yang
Shana Yang, founder and conductor of Zhi Yin Choir, holds a degree at the Shanxi University in China majoring in vocal music and choral conducting. She was the Head of Artistic Department at Taiyuan University in China before settling in Canada. She actively involves in many major fundraising and celebrations within the local Chinese community; and currently teaches private lessons in vocal training and piano.
Founded in 2004, Calgary Zhi Yin Choir consists of over 60 members who are not only committed to chorus singing but also to charitable community services. The choir actively promotes multiculturalism in Calgary through Chinese performing arts with the intention to be the catalyst and bridge between Canadian and Chinese art communities. A couple of examples of such effort were the hosting of the Beijing Opera Festival in Calgary in 2010 by the world renowned Meilanfang Beijing Opera Troupe accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and hosting fundraising concerts for local children hospital and for the poor students in China.

Kang Hua Singers of Greater Hartford (CT)

Chai-lun Yueh
Chai-lun Yueh
Striving to provide joy to our communities with the highest quality of music; we are a non-profit singing group founded in 1989, with dedicated members actively performing locally and across the United States. We have performed at many world famous concert stages such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Chicago Symphony Hall, Strathmore Concert Hall, MD, Woolsey Hall in New Haven, and Bushnell Theater in Hartford. Members also have performed at prestigious universities such as Yale University, Princeton University, Butler University, Trinity College, Temple University, Rutgers University, and the University of Connecticut.
Chai-lun Yueh, award-winning baritone, a music director and voice educator, first Chinese born classical musician received the nomination of the Grammy Awards, winner of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, finalist at Pavarotti International Vocal Competition and a Grant recipient of New York Women Composers. B.A., Central Conservatory of Music of China, Artist Diploma and Master of Music, The Hartt School. Board of Director and Chairman of the Concert Committee with CONCORA, Connecticut’s premier professional choir; Music Director of Connecticut Women’s Chorale. Member of NATS and National Music Honor Society, he has served as the Chair of the voice department at the Hartford Conservatory for over 20 years; currently teaching voice at Wesleyan University and Trinity College.

RTP Chinese American Chorus NC

Marshall Zhu
Marshall Zhu
For enriching cultural life and cultural exchange, The RTP Chinese American Chorus of NC has performed every year within the local community since it was established in 1997. Its members are professors, doctors, senior management staffs, engineers, software designers, research personnel and singing-lovers who are led by Madam Shao-Ai as head master of the chorus and Mr. Zhi-Yong Li as Chairman of the Board.

Providence St Mel Choir

Dr. David Baar leads the choirs at the college prep school - Providence St. Mel in Chicago, serves as the music director for the male chorus--the Rheinischer Gesang Verein, and conducts the Hope Christian Reformed Church Choir. He holds degrees from Northwestern University, Bowling Green State University, and Hope College. Dr. Baar is active in several professional organizations including positions on the board of the American Choral Director’s Association. He has held conducting/teaching positions at several universities, public/private schools, community groups, and appears regularly as a vocal adjudicator and choral clinician. In 2010 he received the Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching.
Providence St Mel is an independent college prep school on Chicago’s West Side. Since 1978, 100% of PSM’s graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges and Universities, and in 2014, 93% were accepted to tier one/ivy league schools. Designated as a model for urban education in a study by Michigan State University, and named among the best in the nation in: On Purpose: How Great School Cultures Form Strong Character, PSM has also been the subject of the full-length documentary film: The Providence Effect. The choirs at PSM have achieved a high level of success, receiving superior ratings at State contests. Honors have included: the finale to Make Music Chicago, NBC Today Show, annual performances with the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago’s Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfasts, Chicago Gospel Festival, recording and performing with Mavis Staples and William Warfield, appearances at music conferences, and an artistic partnership with composer/conductor, Rollo A. Dilworth.

Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble

Edna Duffy
Edna M. Duffy
Edna Duffy, A.B., M.ED, Artistic Director, DuffyLit Music/Dance Studios, Cleveland, Ohio, a Singer/Dancer/Choreographer has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Australia and West Africa. Edna was featured artist with Broadway Tony Award Winner George Faison in a tribute to the sacred music of W.C. Handy, 2007. She was Dancer/Choreographer for the ABC-TV Easter Special “Joy Dawned Again”, 2007. In 2008, she choreographed and performed “We’ve Come Too Far” by Richard Smallwood with Smallwood at Northwestern University. In addition to being Artistic Director of DuffyLit, Edna is Director of Liturgical Dance at University Circle United Methodist Church, Cleveland, Ohio.
Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble is an intergenerational company of singers and dancers dedicated to the study and performance of the American Negro Spiritual. DuffyLit has performed extensively, nationally and abroad, including the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia, a three week tour of West Africa, 2005, and the 2012 World Olympic Choir Games where the Ensemble was awarded the Silver Diploma in the Spiritual Category. DuffyLit uses the arts to promote greater understanding and to contribute to the educational, social and artistic fabric of the community by Engaging the Mind, Disciplining the Body and Developing the Talents of People of All Ages.

Soul Umoja

Alexandra Merritt Matthews
Alexandra Merritt Mathews
Alexandra Merritt Mathews has been the Musical Director of Soul Umoja since 2012 and is currently Co-President with Zori Paul. She is a senior at the University of Chicago, majoring in Comparative Literature and minoring in Theatre and Performance Studies. Alexandra is a performer, director, and writer based in Chicago and Buffalo. She directs a summer musical theatre program for teens called Curtain Up! in Buffalo. For the past two years, she has portrayed Sylvia Plath in PLATH/HUGHES. Alexandra is also a member of the dance ensemble, Balkanske Igre. This spring, she will appear in a new musical devised at UChicago with Second City. Visit alexandramerrittmathews.appspot.com for more!
Since its rebirth in 2003, Soul Umoja has served as The University of Chicago’s Premier Gospel Choir. The choir’s roots stem from spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music and performance. Despite its Christian foundation, over the years, Soul Umoja has really become a place for those who enjoy coming together with others to sing regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds. It is an all-inclusive community for anyone who appreciates the joy and hope that can be found in gospel music. Soul Umoja feels blessed and grateful for this performance opportunity!

College of Lake County Chamber Singers

Ingrid Israel Mikolajczyk
Ingrid Israel Mikolajczyk
Ingrid Israel Mikolajczyk is pleased to direct the College of Lake County Chamber Singers. She has acted as Lyric Opera of Chicago Unlimited’s Tour Manager since 2011 and previously conducted Triton College’s Choral Ensembles. Ms. Israel Mikolajczyk performed in Carnegie Hall’s 2012 Opening Night Gala and 2015 Prokofiev-Scriabin program with the Chicago Symphony Chorus under Riccardo Muti. An MTNA, MCW, and NATSAA award winner, she has been featured in over 25 operatic works. Favorite roles include Countess Almaviva and Najade. In 2014, Ingrid worked with Timothy Cheek, Martin Katz, and fellow art song enthusiasts through Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.
Formed in spring 2010, this small group of 12-16 singers focuses on choral literature from Renaissance to modern. The Chamber Singers rehearse on Wednesdays from 6-8 p.m. The choir is open by audition only. It is one of four choirs in the Music Department at the College of Lake County, a community college serving Lake County, Illinois, in the far northern suburbs of Chicago.

Salem Baptist Church of Chicago/Chicago Voices United

Walter is a native of Chicago and graduated from Northwestern University School of Music (Evanston) with a Bachelors in Music Education and was mentored by the renowned choral composer and arranger, Dr. Robert Harris. He studied conducting at Butler University with Dr. Michael Shasberger and Dr. Henry Leck. Walter currently serves as the Minister of Music and Arts at the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago , Rev. Senator James T. Meeks. Professional affiliations and achievements include: American Choral Directors Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia , Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., Editorial Committee, African-American Heritage Hymnal (Howard University Divinity School).
Salem Baptist Church of Chicago Choir is a 100-voice choral unit organized in 1998 under the direction of Walter M. Owens, Jr. The ensemble is comprised of volunteer singers, artists, and musicians who provide musical support to the weekly worship services of this 13,000+ member church and can be viewed and heard during the weekly Sunday AM and Wednesday PM worship services at www.sbcoc.org. Over the years, the choir has accompanied Senior Pastor, Rev. Meeks on mission trips to Prague, Australia, China, Albania, Sweden, Indonesia, and Ethiopia – world-class music and arts ministry to the glory of God.

Palatine Children's Chorus

Rachel Rosellini
Rachel Rosellini
Rachel received her undergraduate degree in music education from Illinois Wesleyan University and her Master’s with an emphasis in Kodály from Capital University. She teaches choir and general music to first through fifth graders in Barrington, IL. In addition, Rachel is a director for the Kids ‘n’ Musik choir with Kindermusik Northwest.  Rachel sang with the Palatine Children’s Chorus in high school, joined the staff in 2010, and has been Artistic Director since 2012.
The Palatine Children’s Chorus in Palatine IL was founded with just eighteen singers in two individual choirs.   Today PCC has six individual choirs for ages 4-18, drawing from throughout Chicago’s northwest suburbs and dedicated to nurturing young voices, developing the singers’ self confidence and pride, and instilling the love of excellence in performance.  Our older singers have traveled throughout the US, most recently Nashville and New Orleans, and in Europe, including Vienna, Venice, Salzburg, London, and Canterbury, Madrid, and Barcelona, learning that music is truly the universal language.  PCC is a program of the Palatine Park District.