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Music offered much-needed cultural exchange

On Monday night my husband and I had the privilege of attending an outstanding concert performed by young VCU Summer Music Initiative students, with a finale by three of their faculty members. We were drawn to the Gazette article and photo by Seth Birkenmeyer, not only by the promise of great music at the Williamsburg Library but by the cultural enrichment program these students are offered in three locations: Richmond, Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg.

We were moved and renewed by the music, as well as the unique idea of music and cultural exchange. In the words of director Yin Zheng, VCU associate professor of piano, "It's an opportunity for us to nurture students from all over the world."

While this brings us great joy, it also brings to mind a number of summer students we know of in town who have been left to fend for themselves and seem to be offered little or no cultural experience except that given by caring families. It is confusing even online as to how this international program is run, how it differs from sponsorship programs. And it saddens us that they do not seem to receive the type of nurture or caring described above by Dr. Zheng.

Thank you to Dr. Zheng, the VCU faculty and students, and the Williamsburg Regional Library for this gift.


Mary Petzinger

James City County

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