With America’s racial conflicts making global headlines, the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles defies the trends. The orchestra gives disadvantaged young people of color a chance to pursue their love of music and promote diversity. For one Chinese immigrant, the orchestra represents the American Dream.
CCTV America’s May Lee reports.
Wednesday night in mid-city Los Angeles and the Inner City Youth Orchestra is rehearsing for its season finale.
In 2009 nine eager, young African-American musicians kick-started the orchestra, which has helped transform lives and dispel stereotypes.
“I think it’s really important for diversity sake for us to be able to see not just one side of the picture but all sides and I think this orchestra creates an interesting perspective,” Braxton Porter, Bassoonist said.
Over the years, the Inner City Youth Orchestra has become more diverse in an effort to represent the true makeup of Los Angeles.
“We try to let this orchestra and what we do express the greater issues of what’s going on in this country not just music, not just orchestral music, not just African Americanism, but the wide spectrum of what music can do to bring people together,” Charles Dickerson, the Founder & Conductor of ICYOLA said.
13 year-old Chinese-American Ginger Vieth joined the orchestra earlier this year, thanks to her mother Mei, whose life is the epitome of the American dream.
Mei emigrated from China to the U.S. in 1998 with $300 in her pocket. She knew no one, and spoke no English. But she could do one thing that she knows, smile is an international language.
With that smile, Mei waited tables by day and attended beauty school at night. She now owns seven beauty and health salons.
Her drive is fueled by her struggles growing up as a Korean in China. Because her parents are Korean, and her father is educated in Japan and been put in jail for 20 years. She always thinking, whatever they do to her in the past, that’s makes her become stronger today and nothing can knock her over because she go through so much already.
And that’s why Mei believes so strongly in inclusiveness and giving back. The Inner City Youth Orchestra is one way for her and her daughter to do just that.
The orchestra which they do together is a shining example of how the world could be.