This year's Outstanding Contributions Award Recipient is Dr. Katherine Ramos Baker, Professor of Music and Conductor of the CSUN Women's Chorale, which visited and performed in China in the summer of 2011. They staged a series of exchange concerts with sister universities in China and participated in a cultural tour of historically significant places in Beijing, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. It was the work of many hearts and many hands: Eleven days, Seven Concerts, and Many, Many New Friends. The following is a summary by her of this extraordinary experience, which is truly what she calls "an incredible miracle."
"I have given this article two very long titles for two very good reasons: the first title describes what we did; the second, the great care and emotional investment of students, staff and faculty in both of our great countries. There are not enough words to express the multitude of feelings, experiences, and the overwhelming generosity of our hosting sister universities during our tour of China in June 2011. Whatever the circumstance, we were greeted and hosted as honored guests, and treated with the care that is usually reserved for close family. The Women's Chorale will remember and cherish this exchange of music and this gift of new places, new experiences, and new, dear friends.
In addition to our seven exchange concerts, we also saw/experienced:
- Beijing: Tiannamen and the Forbidden City; Cloisonne Factory; The Great Wall;
- Nanjing: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum and Confucius Temple;
- Hangzhou: Lung Ching Tea Factory; The West Lake;
- Shanghai: International Arts Festival; Shopping and Eating in Old Town; Shanghai TV tour; Boat Tour on our last evening.
Women's Chorale members include: Anna Avetisyan; Araksya Avetisyan; Nina Bowker; Jeannie Chen;
Lauren Duplechan; Rebecca Gever; Leatrice Innocent; Laura Jackson; Erin Law; Rebecca Lee; Gigi Mo;
Melissa Nixon; Judi Reynolds; Grace Shaffer;
Melissa Sison; Brooke Tittinger; Brittnee Walsh;
Kaitlyn Wolf; and Natalia Youssef. The CSUN Instructionally –Related Activities Board and The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communications provided the major funding of this tour. Each student paid a travel deposit, paid for university travel insurance, paid all passport and visa fees, tips, and anything additional during the tour. Each of our sister universities subsidized parts of our visit; Shanghai Normal University supported our three days in Shanghai. Here is a partial list of those who made the tour a special experience: CSUN: travel arrangements were made through Jackie Zhuang (CSUN alumna) of Mass Co. Travel; Dr. Justine Su made all of the contacts with our sister universities; Tseng College International Programs & Business Operations Director, Lih Wu and adult daughter Melissa Wu, were official chaperones and translators; Jeannie Chen was our tour accompanist. President Harry Hellenbrand, Vice-President Mack Johnson, MCCAMC Dean Wm. Robert Bucker, and Music Dept. Chair Elizabeth Sellers carried the burdens and joys of insuring safety and well-being of all on the tour. We also received great staff support: Music Department (Jill Price, Linda Gray); MCCAMC Dean's Office (Laila Asgari , Frances Ruck , Donna Stone);The Office of Insurance and Risk Management; and Accounts Payable (Cynthia De La Fuente ). Other support includes: Professor Barry Cleveland (orientation materials); Harmony Ji (Chinese pronunciation coaching); and Jan Sanborn (accompanist coaching).
In China, the CSUN Women's Chorale staged 7 joint concerts: Concert #1 at University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, hosted by Dean Libo Fan of the College of Economics; Concert #2 at Peking University sponsored by President Weifang Min; Concert #3 at Nanjing University of Science and Technology coordinated by Director Chongkai Sun and Ms. Jie Wang of International Programs Office; Concert #4 at Hohai University, Nanjing sponsored by Dean Yang Zhang, Associate Dean Qun Wang and Associate Dean Haiwei Zhou of Business College; Concert #5 at Nanjing University of the Arts coordinated by Director Bufeng Cao of International Programs and Dean Ruqun Mi of the School of Music; Concert #6 at Zhejiang Vocational Arts Academy sponsored by Professor Mingzhi Huang, Chair of the Department of Music; and Concert #7 at Shanghai Normal University hosted by President Jianfei Lu, Dean Li, and Associate Dean Shi of the Music College. The Women's Chorale and I are deeply grateful for the work of many hearts and many hands by our colleagues here and in China, for their model of hospitality, thoughtfulness, and encouragement."