This past summer, the Anderson University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance sent faculty to Shenyang, China, for the first time. Dr. Jeffrey Wright, dean of the College of the Arts, Gert Kumi, assistant professor of music, and Li Li, an adjunct string instruments professor, spent a week at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM).
“I’m from Shenyang, China,” said Li Li. “I went to the attached high school of Shenyang Conservatory of Music, which is a prep school only for music majors.” Her father is a renowned viola professor in China and still teaches at Shenyang Conservatory.
Shenyang is a city in China with a population of 8 million people. Li Li planned the trip for two purposes. “One was to recruit more string students for AU; secondly, I wanted to make a long-term connection between AU and SYCM from this very important trip,” said Li Li.
The three AU faculty members were welcomed by SYCM, and Hui Lui, the president of the school, held a reception in their honor. “Our trip to the Shenyang Conservatory was a fabulous experience,” said Wright. “We were welcomed so warmly and treated so well by all of the students and faculty that we met.”
[Photo: Dr. Jeffrey Wright, dean of the College of the Arts, conducts students at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music, while Professors Gert Kumi and Li Li accompany them.]
The AU professors taught several master classes for both the college and high school divisions. “The students of SYCM were exquisite, and they took the master classes very seriously,” said Kumi. “I loved working with the students. They were so receptive of our teachings.”
At the end of the trip, a concert took place. “The best part was performing the concert with the SYCM student orchestra,” said Li Li. Hui Lui then held a special meeting with Wright, talking about the importance of this trip and further communication and possible collaboration between the two schools.
“Recruitment is a long term goal,” said Kumi. “We would like to recruit students and faculty from China to come study at AU.”
With positive feedback from the SYCM students and Hui Lui taking steps to further communication for possible collaboration, progress toward this goal has already begun.
“Our AU faculty members did a tremendous job of teaching and performing, and we laid the foundation for a strong relationship between AU and the Shenyang Conservatory,” said Wright. “We look forward to building and expanding that relationship in the coming years.”
The takeaway from the trip was much deeper for the AU faculty than just going overseas to teach. “I think the most important part for me was that I truly felt that music has no boundaries and is the best way to connect everyone’s hearts,” said Li Li. “When we were talking about music, it felt like everyone understood each other. The experience was overwhelming, and I think my colleagues felt the same way.”
— Corinne Schmitt is a senior from Geneva, Ill., majoring in communication arts. Schmitt is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.