Local stars can be attractive, too. It’s up to us to discover them.
If you were not among the 2,376 people in the audience at Celebrate Asia!, a remarkable performance showcasing Asian American talents collaborating with mainstream musicians, you missed one of the most exciting events in Seattle.
Held at the Benaroya Hall on Jan. 22, some of the most famous international pieces were featured, including the song “Jai Ho,” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” Other pieces included the Chinese Butterfly Lovers concerto, the wedding march from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and excerpts from the opera “Carmen.” These tunes would even appeal to listeners who are mildly interested in orchestral music.
Celebrate Asia! defied Asian stereotypes. Who says Asians cannot be charismatic? Watch Carolyn Kuan, the conductor of the 128-member orchestra, during the three-and-a-half-hour performance. There are only three females in the country conducting orchestras that are the size of the Seattle Symphony, according to Kuan, who is only in her thirties. She rocked the house.
The soloists were violinist Chuanyun Li and Mongolian Li Bo, who played the morin khuur (the horse-head fiddle). Their passion, personality, skill, and style shined throughout the performance. They received cheers not only from the Asians in the audience, but from non-Asians as well.
I was impressed with how this concert was organized. To support artists, we should pay musicians for their work so the quality of their performances can be maintained. The organizers have done a marvelous job in planning, raising money, and selling tickets for this event. Yoshi Minegishi, board chair, has been hustling for support from the community like it’s his full-time job.
The show also exhibited incredible leadership. If the conductor were not as capable as Kuan, she would not be able to command respect and dedication from the musicians.
The team that organized Celebrate Asia! is made up of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, Japanese, and Vietnamese leaders in the Asian community. The group is not made up of music experts — just music lovers — who not only believe in the magic of music, but know how to weave millions of ideas into a beautiful tapestry, pulling resources and manpower together to make things happen.
What a fine example of collaboration in the Asian community! If you did not get to experience the event this year, don’t worry. The committee is already planning for next year and is looking to expand into the Thai and Cambodian communities. (end)