Vietnam Foundation successfully organised a joint fund raising dinner with Blue Dragon Children’ Foundation on the 25th of August 2017.
Blue Dragon was founded by Michael Brosowski, an Australian teacher at the time, to help Vietnamese street kids. Michael has spent the last 15 years sending thousands of street kids to school and in the last few years, has saved hundreds of trafficked children and helped to rebuild their lives.
The fund raising dinner attracted about 450 guests from a wide community. As well as hearing from Michael, the patrons enjoyed good food and entertainment from various performers, from traditional dances to ball room dancing.
In total, $32,885 was raised of which $16,926 was allocated to Blue Dragon and $15,959 to VNF. In addition to the financial benefit, this event has been a wonderful vehicle to raise awareness of Blue Dragon and Vietnam Foundation in the community.
All this was made possible by a number of generous donors and many hard working volunteers to whom we are truly grateful.
The money raised for VNF will be used in the next project which is currently being evaluated. Watch this space for our next exciting news.
Followings are some of the photos of the event:
Recycled Bicycles has been an ongoing aid project of Vietnam Foundation, commencing in 2012 (see this page). The aim of the project is threefold:
- to provide high-quality, used bicycles to some poor and bright school children in Vietnam,
- to provide employment to local businesses, and
- to promote environmental sustainability in Vietnam.
From 2012 to 2015, the project was confined to poor areas in central Vietnam. In 2016, for the first time, the project was extended to the southern Vietnam. In conjunction with its partners, Scout Chief Trần Văn Hồng (in Huế) and the Hành Trình Yêu Thương (Journey of Love, or HTYT for short) Group (in Saigon), Vietnam Foundation distributed 200 and 100 recycled bicycles to school children in central and southern Vietnam, respectively.
To promote awareness of the project and writing skills of recipients, the Board of Vietnam Foundation decided to hold an essay competition amongst the 2016 recipients (grades 6 to 12). The competition was announced in early December 2016 and the closing date was 10 January 2017. The topic of the competition is “Xe Đạp Yêu Thương – Cùng em đến trường” (Beloved Bicycle – Cycling with me to school) and the participants were encouraged to write about their experiences subsequent to receiving their bikes. The selection panel consisted of Dr Lý Gia Nhẫn (President of Vietnam Foundation), Mr Trương Quang Minh (Vice President of Vietnam Foundation) and Ms Nguyễn Mỹ Loan (Coordinator, Hành Trình Yêu Thương Group).
A total of 100 school children participated in the competition. The five essay winners were:
- First prize (US$ 60): Nguyễn Văn Hồng, Class 11A4, Long Xuyên High School
- Second prize (US$ 50): Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên, Class 7A4, Châu Lăng Middle School
- Third prize (US$ 40): Nguyễn Thị Vàng, Class 6/2, Dân Thành Middle School (Trà Vinh)
- Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Lê Minh Nhựt, Class 4/4, Mỹ Lợi A Primary School (Tiền Giang)
- Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Hồ Hoài Bảo, Class 8/4, Mỹ Lợi A Middle School (Tiền Giang)
The winning entries together with other essays for the competition are stored here.
Essays entries and more photos taken at the Prize Presentation can also be seen on Hành Trình Yêu Thương facebook <https://www.facebook.co/hanhtrinhyt/>
Vietnam Foundation was a joint organiser of the World Festival of Vietnamese Traditional Music 2015 held in Sydney from 14 to 16 August 2015. This is the third time that such a Festival was organised. The previous festivals were held in Toronto, Canada in 2011 and in Seattle, USA, in 2913.
The Festival consisted of sessions of talks, presentations, music demonstrations, etc., with the participation of established musicians, artists and scholars from around the world, including local academics such as Prof Aeron Corn of the Australian National University and Prof Diana Blom of the University of Western Sydney.
The highlight of the Festival was the Gala Concert at the modern 300-seat Bryan Brown Theatre, in Bankstown, NSW. Tickets for the concert was completely sold out many days before the event.
The concert was indeed a very rare event where more than 50 artists of more than 10 music groups from 5 countries (Canada, USA, France, Norway and Australia) coming together to showcase Vietnamese Traditional music.
The concert program was varied and enticing. Traditional music of various genres and from different regions of Vietnam were presented: from traditional folk songs to imperial court music to music of the cải lương (reformed theatre) style. For the first time in Australia đàn Đá (lithophone) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam was introduced and played in a public concert. Other interesting items of the concert included a recital of Mozart’s Alla Turca with the đàn T’rưng (made of bamboo, also from the Central Highlands of Vietnam) and the recreation of ‘Danse de l’Indochine’ (Indochina Dance) which the French legendary ballerina Cléo de Mérode performed with a group of Vietnamese Tài Tử musicians in the Paris Exposition in 1900.
The audience was so enthralled by the beautiful music and superb performances that they stayed clued to their seats till midnight when the four-hour concert concluded with a rousing standing ovation.
Prior to concert, many Vietnamese Traditional Musical Instruments were also exhibited at the lobby of the theatre.
For more details of the Festival please visit the Festival website
The Festival was widely reported in the press. Some festival goers have also made recordings of some items of the concert. For examples:
Postscript: A DVD of the whole Festival concert has been produced and distributed to many public libraries around the world. See cover
* Photos on this page are courtesy of Mai San
On 26 July 2014, Vietnam Foundation members and friends attended as guests at a special concert by the Guihangtar Duo hosted by the The Vietnamese Australian Scientists and Professionals Association (VASPA) at the University of New South Wales, Kensington Campus.
Guihangtar is an expression of tradition, innovation, and global interaction. Comprising guitarist Le-Tuyen Nguyen (Australia) and percussionist Salil Sachdev (USA), the musical duo group initially emerged as a potential collaboration incorporating the guitar and the Hang (a percussion instrument invented in Switzerland in 2000). However, Guihangtar’s maiden concert in 2010 evolved to include other percussion instruments as well. The duo performed compositions and arrangements inspired by nature and traditional music not bound by cultural confines. Traditional melodic and rhythmic idioms weaved with Western music exploring the technical and expressive dimensions of the guitar, enhanced with percussion instruments from various parts of the world.
Guihangtar’s album Dawn of the Mountain Forest is now available both in CD and MP3 downloads.
- CD available at Guihangtar official webpage: http://www.guihangtar.net/#!buy/c2250.
- MP3 downloads available from iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dawn-of-the-mountain-forest/id948326925
‘Sounds of the Motherland’ was the theme of a musical recital held by the Foundation on 28 June 2014. Artists performing at this delightful event were singers Lệ Mai, Quỳnh Xuân and Quốc Sỹ of the Nguồn Vui group, who were accompanied by guitarists Phạm Quang Tuấn and Hoàng Ngọc Tuấn. Nguồn Vui is a singing group which has performed to enthusiastic audience at many concerts in Sydney. Phạm Quang Tuấn is a guitarist and composer and has written English lyrics for many songs by Phạm Duy, Văn Cao, etc… Hoàng Ngọc Tuấn is a multi-talented artist, a literary critic, a celebrated composer and guitarist.
The recital featured beautiful music and songs written by well-loved composers such as Phạm Duy, Nguyễn Văn Thương, etc. that have roots in traditional folk poems and are in the heart of every Vietnamese. Some of the songs were presented partly with English lyrics which, thanks to the masterly transcription by Phạm Quang Tuấn, wonderfully captured the underlying poetic imagery.
In addition to the excellent music presentations, the artists also had interesting discussions with the audience about the lives and works of these composers.
Enjoying so much of the performance by the artists, attendants at the event donated $1120 toward aid projects in Vietnam.
Some of the music items presented can be seen at the following links:
Paris 1900 welcomed the dawn of the new century with people from all over the world coming to the Paris World Exposition to showcase their cultural heritages, achievements and aspirations. Universally presented in the Art Nouveau style, the Exposition saw the introduction of many inventions including diesel engines, talking films, sound recording and many more.
A unique showcase from Indochina that attracted much attention from French journalists and art lovers was the combination of Vietnamese Tài tử music and Cambodian dance, which was performed by a group of Vietnamese traditional musicians with the renowned French ballerina Cleo de Merode and other Italian dancers. A part of the music at that performance was notated as Danse de l’Indo-chine (Indochina Dance) by Julien Tiersot, a prominent French musicologist. To date, his 114 years old manuscript is the first known Western notation of Vietnamese Tài tử music, which, on 5 December 2013, was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humankind.
|On 23 Nov 2013, at a special cultural event held by the Vietnam Foundation, Nguyễn Lê Tuyên and Nguyễn Đức Hiệp, the authors of the newly published book “Hát bội, đờn ca tài tử và cải lương cuối thế kỷ 19 đầu thế kỷ 20” gave a very fascinating talk, illustrated with many slides of old rare photos, of the historical development and the background for the appearance of Tài tử music at the 1900 Paris World Exposition|
The presentation was then followed by musicians Fiona Đàm and Hannah Đinh who, with their Đàn Tranh (16-stringed Zither) and Đàn Bầu (Monochord), beautifully showcased some Vietnamese traditional music pieces.
Their captivating performance culminated with a piece of the Indochina Dance music that was notated by Julian Tiersot in 1900. Dancer and choreographer Geraldine Balcazar meanwhile mesmerised the audience with her own interpretation of the Cambodian dances which were danced by Cleo de Merode at the Paris 1900 World Exposition.
The music program was topped off with a marvelous rendition by artist Ngọc Hà of Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang, the first piece of Vọng Cổ music, written by the Vọng Cổ composer Cao văn Lầu in around 1919.
The cultural connection between Vietnam and France in 1900 has so fascinated Huy Moeller, a Vietnamese-Danish film director that he came here from Amsterdam for the event, and announced the formation of the Indochina Theatre Project, which will produce a feature film inspired by Cleo de Merode’s dances with Vietnamese Tài Tử musicians.
and Prof Aeron Corn, President of the Musicological Society of Australia.
Many copies of the book “Hát bội, đờn ca tài tử và cải lương cuối thế kỷ 19 đầu thế kỷ 20” were also sold. All the sales proceeds were donated by the authors to the Vietnam Foundation.
Extracts of the items presented at this event can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6EySdpUpr4, courtesy of Redeeming Features, which filmed the entire event proceeding.
More than 450 guests came to give support to our gala dinner “Tuổi Xanh Nào Cho Em” held on 6 September 2013 at Liberty Palace Restaurant, Bankstown.
The dinner was to raise funds for many of our aid projects in remote rural areas in Vietnam, specially the construction of a new building for the Mái Ấm Tình Thương (MATT) orphanage in Lagi, Bình Thuận province.
Sister Mai, the founder and director of the MATT orphanage, gave a moving account of the efforts by the orphanage to relieve the plight of the poor and the disabled in the surrounding areas.
Entertaining was provided by many well-loved musicians and artists in Sydney: Quỳnh Xuân, Thiên Hương, Kim Thúy, Thanh Tâm, Hoàng Phương, Jimmy and the popular music band The Sun Rise, conducted by Dr Thi.
Making special appearance at the dinner was the talented and versatile concert pianist Vân-Anh Nguyễn.
Prior to and during the dinner many volunteers from various groups such as the Gia Đình Phật Tử (The Buddhist Family), the Mở Rộng Vòng Tay (Open your Arms, Open Your Heart) charity group, etc gave us their helping hands in many tasks such as promoting the event, selling diner tickets, ushering, selling raffles tickets, collecting donations, etc.
Through this dinner we raised a total of $22,069, which consisted of $8,083.00 donated exclusively (by requests from the donors) to the MATT project, $3,202.00 to other aid projects and $10,784.00 the proceeds from the sales of dinner tickets, raffles, and DVDs. The Foundation has decided to donate a third of the $10,784 proceeds (i.e $3,594.70) to the MATT project also. Therefore, as support for the MATT project, a total of $11,677.70 was handed over to Sister Mai on 10 Sep 2013. The remaining $10,391.30 of the dinner proceeds will be used for other Foundation’s aid projects.
The dinner would not have been a success had we not been given valuable support by many people in many ways: attending the dinner, helping with the organizing or giving donations in cash or in kind. We wish to give to all a heart-felt thank you.
MÁI ẤM TÌNH THƯƠNG ORPHANAGE
The MATT has been in operation for 7 years. It has been carrying out many “pro-life” programs, which include counseling and helping unmarried pregnant mothers to avoid abortion, giving them shelter, bringing up orphans, as well as caring for the poor, the disabled, and the people affected by Agent Orange in the area.
Currently the orphanage houses 93 orphans aged between new-born and 8-years old and is run by 10 sisters and 18 assistants.
Due to the increasing demand for the services from the locals, the existing facilities become inadequate. The orphanage aims to construct a new, additional building which can accommodate 150 orphans (from 2-days old to grown-up) and has enough space to provide adequate facilities in support of up to 300 disabled persons who come monthly for food and medicines.
* Photos taken at the dinner and shown in this page are courtesy of DV Huyen and Hao Xuan
Arts of Việt Nam 1009-1945 by Kerry Nguyễn-Long, is the only book written in English on this subject. It covers the development of the arts from the first Lý king in 1009 to the abdication of the last Nguyễn King in 1945, from the North to the far South of Vietnam.
The Vietnam Foundation had the honour to host on Sunday 5 May 2013 a presentation by author Kerry Nguyễn-Long about this valuable, important publication.
Kerry Nguyễn-Long has a long connection with Vietnam and has been writing on its arts for decades. Since 1999 she has been a contributing editor of the international bimonthly magazine Arts of Asia, published in Hong Kong. Her writings have also featured in many books, arts magazines, museum catalogues, and journals.
Supported by over 300 illustrations, the Arts of Việt Nam 1009-1945 introduces major categories of the arts from Architecture to Sculpture, Stone and Woodcarvings, Metalcrafts, Lacquercraft, Furniture, Ceramics, Inlay work, Woodblock Printing and Painting. It presents them in historical context, describes their features in each period and explains why alongside enduring continuities new styles emerged while others were abandoned.
Kerry Nguyễn-Long dedicated decades of meticulous and painstaking research to produce this great work out of her frustration with false or inadequate information and the sometimes cursory remarks or dismissal of Vietnamese arts in a range of publications that she had encountered over many years. Her desire was “to contribute towards a more balanced discourse on Vietnam’s arts.”
Kerry’s talk was very informative, well illustrated with many slides and drew very lively queries and discussions from engaging, interested audience.
The book talk was followed by a beautiful recital of Vietnamese classical music items with đàn Tranh (16-stringed zither) and đàn Bầu (monochord) by artist Ngọc Anh and her student.
The audience of more than 40 members and friends of the Foundation enjoyed a very rewarding cultural event and purchased many copies of the book. Kerry kindly donated part of the proceeds of the sales of the book to the Vietnam Foundation’s fund for aid projects in Vietnam.
The book is available for $55 from many arts bookshops. Its publication was supported by the Australian Embassy in Hanoi as part of its programme to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. It has been awarded a certificate of commendation for the 2013 Australian Arts in Asia Awards by the Australian Government Minister for the Arts.
On 3 November 2012 more than 60 members and friends of the Foundation were pleasantly treated with an exquisite music recital which featured a beautiful blending of Vietnamese and western music. Performed at the event were 3 accomplished musicians: Nguyễn Lê Tuyên, Nguyễn Kim Oanh and Nguyễn Xuân Ánh.
Lê Tuyên is the inventor of the new guitar technique staccato-harmonic duotone (whereby two music tones are created on one string at the same time) and has given many highly acclaimed concerts and lectures in Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA.
During the night Lê Tuyên demonstrated this unique technique with many of his compositions which were inspired by music of the minority people in the central highlands of Vietnam. Also presented were his wonderful interpretations of some of traditional Vietnamese folk songs such as Lý Con Sáo, Lý Chim Quyên etc.
Leaving the Vietnam highlands and countryside behind, the audience was transported to the other side of the world, to the sea and sky of Italy and Europe.
Accompanied by Nguyễn Xuân Ánh in the guitar, Nguyễn Kim Oanh, with her beautiful operatic voice, captivated the audience with her enchanting renditions of famous songs such as Santa Lucia, O Solo Mio, Mama and many others.
Kim Oanh and Xuân Ánh are the founders and directors of the “Accelerated Centre for Education”, a well-respected, quality school for music, dance, and visual arts in Sydney. They both were graduates of the Saigon Conservatorium of Music (before 1975), Sydney Conservatorium of Music and University of New South Wales.
Kim Oanh has performed as a solo singer and a choir conductor for churches in Vietnam and Sydney and, for more than 33 years, taught music in schools.
Before 1975 Xuân Ánh was a guitar lecturer at the Saigon Conservatorium of Music.
The three artists at the event are therefore not only seasoned performers but also experienced educationalists. With each piece of the music presented, the artists gave an illuminating introduction on its background and its meaning. The audience enjoyed not only delightful entertainment but also very rewarding and memorable cultural experience.