April 26




A Beautiful Journey
(JE Performance Program)

Created at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont, supported by the ~Asian Studies Outreach Program (ASOP) at the University of Vermont (UVM), and funded primarily through a grant from the Freeman Foundation,

Journey East, as a whole, consists of the Asian Studies Academy and Sino-American Performing Arts Exchange at Leland and Gray Union High School; the integration of an Asian Studies curriculum throughout the Windham Central Supervisory Union, and the introduction of Chinese language programs into the district.

~Dr. Juefei Wang, Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program University of Vermont, is a recipient of the prestigious Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International education, on behalf of the UVM, Asian Studies Outreach Program.

The Leland and Gray Journey East program is deeply indebted, and extends its heartfelt thanks, to Dr. Juefei Wang, without whose effort and support this program would not even be possible!

Thank you Juefei!

Leland & Gray
Journey East 2007

Tom Connor
Program Director

Ann Landenberger
Artistic Director

Matt Martyn
Music Director


Come see these magnificent performers on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 pm. They will perform at Leland & Gray High School in Townshend, Vermont.

Click here to find out more about this amazing and fun evening!


Where Are They?




Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S. of A.!

The Journey East 2007 group is back home, safe and sound! No matter how great the journey (and this one was great!), this is the best part -- the safe return home.

Tom, Ann, and Matt took the kids and chaperones on a magnificent journey through thousands of miles and thousands of years of China. We saw just a very small token of it through their pictures, their writing, and their hearts. Now, they are home again and the rest of the story can be told, in person. The journey now comes alive!

Before we say goodbye to the adventure, we’ve got to say thank you to three very, very special people . . .

Tom Connor, Ann Landenberger, and Matt Martyn

Thank you!

Everybody now. A huge standing “O”! We can never thank them enough for all they have done, and continue to do . . .

Before we continue with the “thank-yous,” Ann shares her final thoughts on Journey East 2007. Ann . . .

APRIL 25, 2007 -- Ann Landenberger, Artistic Director

China remains an inscrutable maze of contrasts. The quaint, old Beijing houtong --rich in architectural detail in its courtyard-centered dwellings--dwarfed by a mega-building—all glass and steel, ultra-modern and antiseptic. The worn, leathered face of a villager in desperate need of dental care versus the quasi-Caucasian model touting canned Western “chic” plastered on a city billboard. The lush green fields of irresistible vegetables tended carefully by a dedicated farmer under a smoke-filled sky and against the back drop of a coal burning plant. McDonalds’ loathed arches flanking a street vendor’s donkey cart.

I can’t imagine a time when such contrasts will fade, but I’m sure they will. As Western influences eek more and more into Asian lifestyle and the lure of capitalism is increasingly more compelling, visitors from the West will see less of old China and more of their own familiar. I wish it weren’t so, but who am I to say? The West offers the model for “progress” and, as we’ve seen quite poignantly, such progress has its price.

I have faith, though, that the character of the Chinese people will endure. And that’s reassuring. The kids have written on this in various ways over the last 32 days, and it’s heartening to see that the value of this contact with peers abroad hasn’t escaped them. The Chinese who’ve hosted us, befriended us and merely brushed with us have all shared grace, warmth, and a generous welcoming spirit that reflect contentment, compassion and balance within. Of course, we see there are differences. It's intriguing to us, for instance, that decisions are made in community and that only a rare Chinese peer would stick a neck out to lead the sheep. But that’s OK, it seems. It’s how things work. It’s why the traffic flows in the most convoluted and terrifying patterns with so little accident or incident. Big busses gently muscle trucks; cars yield obsequiously to greater pistons; bikes weave confidently and deftly through it all and Chinese pedestrians magically make it across streets which would be a 10-“hail Mary” challenge for the average Westerner. All this, by the way, happens with no apparent regard for rules and little, if any, distinction between inbound and outbound lanes. It exemplifies Chi; it’s Taoist; it’s faith in flow. In fact, traffic is a metaphor for Chinese life but that’s tough to explain until one experiences it.

When we first began in 2000, a parent commented that Journey East would make a small but important contribution to ensuring that our kids wouldn’t want “to blow each other up” in years to come. Now I think we can assess the impact one step further. One might well predict that the 125+ kids who have learned through Journey East in various parts of China will not only try to refrain from antagonistic relationships with their peers on the other side of the world, but will also try to help solve big problems together: They just might even save the enviroment. The cohort may be small but, linked with others, its influence can be great.

Our kids and dozens of Chinese peers have worked together, swapped songs and dances; laughed together; exchanged gifts. They’ve walked arm-in-arm and embraced at leave-takings. They’ve laughed at miscommunication and delighted in the ability to gesticulate messages and meaning. Our kids have modeled creativity and imagination; their Chinese peers have demonstrated the vigor—rigor—that marks a successful student’s life. In the end, I believe they have realized that there is goodness to be tapped within cultures all over the globe. Continuing to share assets and discover ways to curb liabilities can only help.

Many thanks to John Reinhardt for forging the links among us through this remarkable website during our time abroad. And many thanks to you parents, friends and families for supporting kids in their ongoing quest to learn the world.

-- Ann

Thank you Ann. Simply said, “well put.”

We also want to give a big round of applause and a hearty “thank you” to our three wonderful chaperones, Andi Anderson, Louise McDevitt, and Susan Daigneault. As we have mentioned, there is a lot of personal sacrifice involved in being a JE chaperone. Not only do they leave their family and “life” for a month, but during the journey they serve as parents, guides, disciplinarians, friends, consultants, traffic cops, nurses, and most importantly, there are times when the kids just need a hug. Thank you!

Thanks too go out to Dr. Juefei Wang (Director of the Asian Studies Outreach Program -- ASOP) for all he does to make this program a powerful influence for so many, and to Lloyd Szulborski (Principal of Leland & Gray) for his support and assistance at Leland & Gray.

And we can’t leave without thanking all of the thousands of Chinese and Mongolian people who served as hosts, companions, and friends to our traveling family. Qufu and Hohhot have become our extended family. If I began to name everyone individually, we’d be here for a long, long time. Without their gracious, never-ending hospitality, this journey would not be what it is. Thank you!

The answers to the quiz are posted on tomorrow’s page (Answers). For those of you still taking the quiz, I shouldn’t be concerned that you’ll peak, should I? I know none of you ever peaked ahead to the next day during the journey, did you? Ahem. That will be our own little secret. : )

This trip may be over, but the Leland & Gray “Journey East” program continues to grow bigger and better each year! Since its inception in 2000, we now have well over 100 students and chaperones/teachers who have traveled to China as part of the Performing Arts Exchange. Absolutely amazing! We look forward to another visit by the Mongolians this fall, and preparations are underway for the next Journey East 2008 trip to China.

Okay, so just over a month ago you said goodbye to your kids or spouses, and a few days ago the kids said goodbye to their friends in Hohhot. And now the time has come for us to say goodbye as well. We’ve all experienced a very special month together -- a journey of our own. For some, this is our fourth time together and I have enjoyed every one of them.

Well, as difficult as this is (what, to stop rambling?!), we must finish this chapter in the Journey East book and get ready to begin the next one.


Thanks everybody, you’ve been great!

John Reinhardt, Journey East webmaster
April 26, 2007


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