Bill Wading presents "All the Tea in China"

A Passage to China 2009

April 4 & 5, 2009

CHF presented the second annual A Passage to China at Mall of America to great acclaim. An estimated crowd of 10,000 visited our two-day event. Read about the sights and sounds here.

2009 Visit by Flower Drum Song Author C. Y. Lee

June 25-29, 2009

2009-3 1 20131107 1681469658C. Y. (Chin Yang) Lee, author of Flower Drum Song, came to the Twin Cities in June to attend the opening performance of Mu Performing Arts's production of the 2002 Broadway revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical based on his novel. Spry and active at 93, Lee enjoyed this updated production very much and pronounced it a wonderful successor to the 2002 Broadway production. He was pleased that his East-meets-West story is now speaking to a new generation of theatergoers and Chinese Americans.

Lee also renewed his acquaintance with David Henry Hwang, the playwright of the 2002 Broadway2009-3 16 20131107 1702612134 revival, and met with the cast of the Mu production. He was very pleased to see so many established and emerging Asian American actors in the Twin Cities. Encouraging more Asians, particularly Chinese, to go into the performing arts has been one of his life long goals.
Many in the Chinese community, including some who were Lee's contemporaries in Kunming during WWII, came to the opening night to meet him.

They also came the next evening to Jun Bo Restaurant to attend a dinner and dance in his honor. Lee loves to dance and spent a good part of the evening on the dance floor. He also enjoyed the special performances presented by members of Daniel Lai's 2009-3 32 20131107 1098936361Chinese American Ballroom Dance Association and for DanSa.
Ming Tchou, president of CHF, is a long time friend of Lee's, and hosted him for five fun-filled days here. They toured many Twin Cities cultural landmarks, including the newly refurbished Cherry at the Walker Art Center's Sculpture Garden. Lee had a wonderful time and promised to return very soon.

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2009 Visit by Veteran Hollywood Actor James Hong

September 11, 2009

On September 11 the Chinese Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with China Insight, welcomed James Hong, veteran Hollywood actor and Minnesota native, back to the Twin Cities. Hong was in town to attend his 1947 class reunion at Central High School.

2009-4 5 20131107 1020870529A diverse audience, consisting of Hong's childhood friends and families as well as young American born Chinese who were attracted by his many movie credits, gathered at Grand City Buffet to greet him. Hong was gracious and gregarious, mixing easily with both old friends and new fans. He paid homage to his first English teacher, Miss Jane Wilson (94 years old and present) of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Chinese School and to his Mandarin Chinese teacher, Prof. Richard Mather (96 years old and living in St. Paul) of the University of Minnesota. He urged all young people to learn Mandarin, an ability that he felt would continue to gain in importance in the future.

He also encouraged more young people to go into the creative and performing arts, echoing the call of C. Y. Lee, author of Flower Drum Song who visited the Twin Cities three months ago, for more Chinese artists. Hong explained that in his young days the prevailing Chinese tradition placed performing artists at the lowest rung of desirable professions and discouraged young people, if they had a choice, from entering the acting profession. That is no longer the case. Acting is now a respected profession and, reinforcing a point he made in the PBS public documentary on Chinese actors in Hollywood, he said that Hollywood is now beginning to cast more Chinese actors in leading roles.

Underneath Hong's many easy going jokes was a disciplined professional. Comfortable with his Chinese heritage and, at 80, at ease with his long and successful career in Hollywood, he looks forward to many more roles, perhaps even that of Charlie Chan, played by a Chinese this time.

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2009 Ming Tchou Birthday Party

August 9, 2009

2009-5 3 20131107 1410837756It was five years ago at Ming Tchou's birthday party that she announced the creation of the Chinese Heritage Foundation. It has been an eventful five years since then for everyone at CHF. To mark Ming's continuing commitment to CHF, several friends got together to throw a surprise birthday party for her. She arrived at the home of Ida Lano on August 9, expecting an intimate Sunday supper with four friends. Instead she was greeted by a chorus of approximately 30 friends hollering, 'Surprise!!'

Ming was thrilled to see so many good friends gathered to help her celebrate her special day. There were many delicious dishes contributed by everyone: poached salmon, sesame peanut noodle, pot stickers, Buddha's delights, gluten vegetables, eight-precious longevity noodles, eight-precious rice pudding, stuffed glutinous rice balls, roasted suckling pig, cookies, and a luscious fresh cream mango birthday cake. Everyone had a marvelous time.

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2009 Open House

October 18, 2009

2009-1 3 20131107 1397150202On a brilliant Sunday afternoon on October 18, 2009, the Chinese Heritage Foundation (CHF) held its Fifth Annual Open House at Gramercy Park. It was a landmark celebration for this new organization. In five short years the Foundation has built a solid reputation as a creditable and responsive organization in the Chinese community and beyond. Its grant making has gone to outstate locations such as Hutchinson, St. Cloud and Alexandria, fulfilling its funding mission to bring Chinese arts and culture to all of Minnesota. Likewise its volunteer calligraphy team is traveling throughout the metropolitan area, doing name translations and presenting lecture/demonstrations in settings as varied as schools, corporate campuses, and multicultural festivals.

On this Sunday afternoon a bustling team of volunteers has prepared delicious snacks such as crispy peanut triangles, char sui, fresh crab sandwiches, curry potato cakes, and almond cookies, complemented by an inviting fresh fruit salad and cashew nuts. Special brewed teas, compliments of TeaSource, made for a satisfying midafternoon high tea. Master of ceremonies, Ida Lano, introduced organizations that had received grant awards from the Foundation in the past year. This list included Arts Midwest, Minnesota Center Chorale and Minhua Chorus. A fellow of the CHF Fellowship, established in perpetuity in the History Department of the University of Minnesota, also spoke. CHF Committee members then2009-1 13 20131107 1458978437 presented a brief summary of CHF activities, including the highly successful second presentation of A Passage to China at the Mall of America. Stephanie Hall, events coordinator at Mall of America, was present to announce next year's date for this exciting outreach event.

To acknowledge the importance volunteers play in its activities CHF, an entirely volunteer-run organization, instituted an annual Volunteer of the Year Award this year. The first award went to David B. Lam, the leader of the calligraphy team. In addition to name translations and lecture presentations, David has also been the resident fortune-teller. Many a hare-brained scheme has been warned off by David's grave admonition that anything not thoroughly planned is not worth the risk involved.

2009-1 31 20131107 1992230946Following its by-now well-established tradition, CHF honored outstanding Minnesotans with its Chinese Minnesotan of Note Award. The award, posthumously this year, went to Walter James. The full essay had already been published in both China Insight and Minnesota China Tribune. On hand to receive the award were Walter James' grandnephew and niece. Both Charles and Linda James spoke movingly about the tremendous influence Walter James had on their lives and the lives of so many others.

The audience, made up of founding and annual members, and also many new young professionals, mingled freely and enjoyed studying the special exhibition of calligraphy by Moon Fong, a well-loved nonagenarian member of the Foundation. Moon also was on hand to sign her new book, Reflections, giving all the proceeds to benefit activities of the Foundation. After many cheerful conversations everyone started to leave, laden with warm feelings for the Foundation's achievements and looking forward to more good things to come.

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