News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: October 11, 2004 (04-91) 

Montgomery College to Present
‘We the People: A Salute to the American Dream’
Evening to Feature Musical Performances and Patriotic Readings Oct. 24 

Montgomery College will celebrate the power of music and the spoken word at a Montgomery College Orchestra concert, entitled “We the People:  A Salute to the American Dream,” on Sunday, October 24, at 7:30 p.m., at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville.  The concert is free and open to the public.

“Coming just nine days before the national elections, this interdisciplinary program will celebrate our great nation, and highlight the unique role that Montgomery College and other community colleges play in empowering millions of Americans from all walks of life to pursue their own interpretation of the American Dream,” said Dr. Wen Wang Kurkul, music director and conductor of the Montgomery College Orchestra.

Jointly presented by Dr. Kurkul and Dr. Lee Annis of Montgomery College’s History and Political Science department, the program will feature a repertoire of patriotic American music classics performed by the Orchestra as well as inspirational historical readings, including Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech; a selection from President Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address; Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address; and excerpts from President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” speech.  Speakers will also share stories from Montgomery College alumni – real-life examples of former students who have succeeded in pursuing their own version of the American Dream.

In addition to music and readings, the program will feature remarks from Phyllis Eisen, 2004 winner of the Harry S. Truman Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.  The award is presented to the person outside the community college system who has been most valuable in helping to promote and develop America’s community colleges.  Eisen is vice president and executive director of the Center for Workforce Success of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The new music director and conductor of the Montgomery College Orchestra, Dr. Kurkul, earned her doctoral degree in Music Education at Indiana University School of Music.  After being a faculty member both nationally and internationally for over a decade at institutions such as Indiana University and National Sun Yat-Sen University, she was recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice as an Outstanding Professor in 2001. 

In addition to being an active conductor, Dr. Kurkul also plays the flute, which she began performing as a young girl in Taiwan.  Dr. Kurkul is a past winner of the National Flute Competition in Taiwan and the YAMAHA Music Performance Leader Award. 

Concertmistress Chein-Tai Hsu, also a native of Taiwan, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria.  She is completing her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland, and currently working as an intern under Dr. Kurkul’s supervision at the Montgomery College Orchestra.  Hsu has served as concertmistress in orchestras that have performed in Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, and Taiwan.

Principal cellist Ai-Lin Hsieh, another native of Taiwan, earned her master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music and is completing her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland.  She is also working as an intern under Dr. Kurkul’s supervision.  As an award-winning young cellist, Hsieh was invited to perform a cello octet with Mistislav Rostropovitch in Taipei, Taiwan. 

For additional information about the “We the People” concert or the Montgomery College Orchestra, please contact Dr. Wen Kurkul at 240-567-7550.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park, plus workforce development and continuing education centers in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and  Silver Spring. The College serves nearly 50,000 students a year, through both credit and non-credit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.