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The global language: music

EEPster sings with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ Concert Choir in South Africa

Photo: Yulan Lin at Cape Point.
Yulan Lin touring Cape Point, on a peninsula near the southwestern tip of Africa.

Photo: Yulan Lin at Festival Hostel.
Yulan Lin with kitchen staff at a hostel in Grahamstown, South Africa.

With whooping, hollering and enthusiastic audience applause, Yulan Lin felt like a rock star during her 18-day South Africa tour with the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus’ Concert Choir this past summer.

“Everyone welcomed us and our music with amazing warmth during our performances,” exclaimed Lin, a music and chemistry double major at Cal State L.A.

Lin and the 60-member ensemble participated in the National Arts Festival as well as the Ihlombe! Choral Festival. Venues ranged from schools to sacred grounds throughout South Africa. Sharing cultural exchange with songs and workshops, they also performed individually as well as with choirs from all over the world. The concerts featured an international mix of classical, folk and contemporary works.

“My experience in South Africa was amazing,” said Lin. “One thing in particular that struck me was that everyone spoke the language of music. No matter where we were—singing for kitchen staff at a hostel or children in the Gugulethu Township—almost everyone sang along, and they were polite and friendly.”

According to a South Africa’s Cue newspaper music critic, “Throughout their performance, perfectly proportioned textural balance mingled with flawlessly merged overtones, evenly produced vocal tone, and gloriously positioned head voice sounds… This choir impressed with their disciplined response and professional demeanor.”

Now in its 26th season, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus—directed by Anne Tomlinson—provides choral music education of the highest quality to young people who represent diverse racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Lin has been a member of the chorus, the concert choir and the chamber singers for approximately seven years.

Lin added, “A memorable moment was at a restaurant when staff came out and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to some of our choir members, and it turned into a dance party unlike any I’ve ever seen. The only music was voices and hand drums. Even though we didn’t know the songs or what the words meant, we were singing along and dancing just the same.”

Lin, 16, was admitted to CSULA through the Early Entrance Program (EEP). The program—housed under the auspices of the Honors College—is specifically designed to permit young, highly gifted students to enroll at the University as full-time students. Two additional members of the chorus are EEP alums: Chris Chien and Lea Urpa.

At CSULA, Lin is also serving as president of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club for two terms. She was also secretary of the EEP Club last year and is an academic chair this year. Currently, she is conducting research in the lab of Professor Yong Ba at CSULA, collaborating with Julie Kornfield of Caltech. Earlier this year, she sang in the L.A. Philharmonic performance of “Symphony of a Thousand” from Mahler’s 8th Symphony, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

“Extraordinary in the arts, sciences, leadership and character, Yulan is the type of future scholar who will move the nation and our world forward,” said EEP Director Richard Maddox. “She is a kind person with a brilliant mind who has contributed mightily to the program and the University.”

In addition to her goal to become a chemistry professor, Lin hopes to establish a choir school for girls on par with the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir and the Vienna Boy Choir.

“There is really no opportunity equivalent to these two choirs for young girls who love to sing,” said Lin. “Also, I would like to be a music conductor, as it combines my passions for music, teaching and languages, and is something I really enjoy.”

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Last Update: 01/12/2016