Thursday, May 16, 2013

Send Sydney to Beijing!

Courtesy Michigan State University

I wrote about my young friend Sydney Rostar back in February of 2012. (Click here to read “Sweet and Stunning Sydney, the Stupendous, Special Singing Sensation,” February 23, 2012.) She’s the future opera diva with a voice that can shatter glass and give you goosebumps who I’ve known since she was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Since my last post, Sydney has completed her freshman year at Michigan State University, where she’s studying vocal performance. She was just accepted into the MSU-China Vocal Collaboration Program, established eight years ago to give students in both countries the chance to visit and learn about each others’ music and culture. She’s scheduled to visit the Central Conservancy of Music in Beijing with seven other MSU students this fall.

One of the program’s creators, MSU Professor Richard Fracker, said, “The MSU-China exchange has grown immensely in musical quality and mutual friendship since its inception. We want students to develop a mutual respect for the great culture both of our nations represent, and to grow and learn from one another.”

In addition to performing here and in Beijing, Sydney expects to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and other amazing locales that I’ve only seen in movies. To say I’m a little envious of her is like saying Bigfoot is a little hard to spot.

We know that art and music are closely connected to academic achievement and that by traveling to other countries, we develop a better appreciation for people and places that are different. Sydney’s about to witness firsthand how music has the power to overcome language and cultural barriers and bring individuals closer together.

If, that is, she can come up with the cash.

Sydney’s no Tori Spelling and plane fare and program costs are daunting so she’s set up a fundraising page at I promised I’d share this at “What’s the Diehl?” so that readers can help to build another bridge between disparate nations and expand Sydney’s world.

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