The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

US Social Impact Bazaar
US Social Impact Bazaar
Mary Bradley Sutherland, Photo and Graphic Editor • April 18, 2024

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StuCo steps up
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Performance Dream Becomes Reality

Photo provided by Yung-Fang Ludford

Middle School music teacher Yung-Fang Ludford is no stranger performing in front of large crowds; she strikes a chord with her audience. Since her childhood, Ludford has dreamt of “making the world a prettier place, one song at a time” and of performing around the world. This past summer, her dream came true.

Ludford scored a solo concert in Italy through a Hockaday study grant and sang on July 15 at the International Center for the Arts in Monte Castello, a small town in Italy.

To apply for the study grant, Ludford wrote a proposal and submitted it to the former Head of Academic affairs, Cathy Murphree. She then received the funding.

“Hockaday approved my dream,” Ludford said.

The grant allowed her to perform as a soprano in Italy, the center of classical operatic talent.

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When she arrived at the scenic village of Monte Castello, Ludford was overwhelmed by the rich history tied to the village itself and to the cities around it.

Monte Castello is a tight-knit community and its people made her feel welcome and at ease immediately. The sense of community inspired her to make her performances more relatable to her audience.

“I think I owed it to my audience to make my performance the best I could,” Ludford said.

One of the city’s core values is love. Playing on this string, Ludford chose love ballads including “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “Signore, Ascolta.” She sang a medley of songs, ranging from Italian arias to Chinese modern art songs.

The process of picking the songs was long, and she took painstaking measures in order to ensure that the series of songs flowed well. Her overall mission was to confer her audience with love and the grace of God.

Sabina Belei, the pianist who accompanied her on this trip, described Ludford as dedicated to her audience and a pleasure to work with. Ludford’s constant happiness and optimism lifted everybody’s spirits.

“I really think she came away with a new perspective,” Belei said. “I think her students will benefit from her new performing experience and stage presence.”

Currently, Ludford aspires to be an “artist-teacher.” She would love to continue both teaching music and touring. She believes that her experiences performing help her impart more knowledge and skills to her students.

“I want to bring my passion to the classroom to inspire my students to pursue performing arts,” Ludford said.

Ludford’s current students, especially fifth grader Ela Guo, find her class exciting and reflective of her musical talents.

“Ms. Ludford’s class is super fun,” Guo said. “The stories that she tells about her trip inspire me to do something with performing arts in the future.”

According to sophomore Kate Fundis, a former student and advisee, Ludford has always been a very hands-on teacher. Fundis enjoyed her time with Ludford and believes that the fundamentals she learned in music still serve her well.

“She integrates her experiences with the lesson plans. I think her class will learn more about what it’s like to perform music both on a small scale and a high level,” Fundis said. “I am confident that she will bring her European experience back to her classroom.

– Neha Dronamraju – Staff Writer –

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