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The Great Wall Youth Orchestra and Chorus
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 12:00pm
World Music with a Chinese Twist:

Multicultural Youth Orchestra from Oakland, CA Presents First Northwest

The Great Wall Youth Orchestra and Chorus of
Laney College, in Oakland, California, will tour three Northwest cities for the first time this month, as part of a regional tour sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. The youth orchestra brings together young people from diverse backgrounds to play both world music and classical Chinese songs on traditional Chinese instrumentsincluding such popular Western favorites as Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" and Johann Strass's "Radetsky March."

The Great Wall Youth Orchestra and Chorus
is a program of the Purple Silk Music Education Foundation, an Oakland-based nonprofit that provides free music education to inner-city schoolchildren. The organization was founded in 1995 by Sherlyn Chew, a music instructor at Laney College and at Lincoln Elementary School, in Oakland, to help fill a gap in arts programming in the public schools.

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
Smith Memorial Student Union, room 228 (Multicultural Center)

For more information, call 503-725-5342 or visit http://culture.pdx.

Sponsored by the PSU Multicultural Center.


The youth orchestra was catapulted into the public eye in 2004 by a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal, which cited it as an innovative model for music education and promoting cross-cultural understanding. The article focused on Tyler Thompson, a (then) nine-year old African American boy from the chorus who sings Chinese opera solos. As a result, Tyler and the youth orchestra have been featured on CNN, CBS Sunday Morning, and ABC Good Morning America, and received media coverage worldwide.

Last May, Tyler was invited to Washington, DC to perform at a U.S. State Department meeting between Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and China's Vice-Premier, Madame Wu Yee. The youth orchestra has just received an invitation to perform in Ireland next year, which will mark its first international tour.