by Winston Chua
San Marino’s Angela Liu returned from her second trip to China in as many years recently and shared with The Tribune some of the highlights of her journey.
Some may recall her trip last summer to Zhengzhou (one of the largest cities in north-central China), where she brought 14 recorders and taught music to a select group of people who lived in un-San Marino-like conditions. Angela plays both the flute and piano and is part of her high school’s ensemble.
This year in Beijing, she taught both completely blind and severely sight-impaired students there how to play “Amazing Grace” on their recorders.
Angela visited China’s capital city for eight days, bringing her gift of music this time to 30 visually impaired students. The incoming Polytechnic 10th grader received the opportunity to see how four of her former students have progressed and developed, calling this the best part of her trip to one of the most populous cities in the world.
Angela says she has gained a new level of comfort as a teacher because her Chinese has improved and because of the constant support of the teachers around her.
“Even though the students can’t see, they have happy spirits and open minds,” observed Angela. “I was excited that some of the students from Zhengzhou had transferred to the school in Beijing.”
Angela talked about the growth and maturation of one of her students, Hong Jin-Jin, who mastered the recorder and assisted the beginners.
She said she had an “Aha!” moment in China this summer as she saw how music was added as another dimension to Hong’s life, giving him the self-confidence to take risks and to transform who he is as a person.
“It’s the discovery that giving really is better than receiving,” said angela. “The biggest reward was to see first-hand the seeds of hope in these students that I planted bear fruit into a transformed life.”
Angela, who once again taught Chinese students “Amazing Grace,” will be hosting a benefit concert featuring several student performances on Saturday, July 26 at the Steinway Piano Gallery located at 150 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 101 in Pasadena at 2:15 p.m. Tax deductible donations are welcome.
Last year Angela collected around $21,000. These monies were split between schools in Beijing and Zhengzhou and also the Braille Institute. The money helped pay for the living expenses and tuition of about 200 students.
Angela keeps in contact with students using the WeChat app and looks forward to returning to China again next year.