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John Wen Speaks Out for Music Education

John Wen has been addressing his concern over the state of classical music education across Iowa through political advocacy. 

John WenJohn has sent letters to many local politicians, inviting them to various concerts and encouraging their funding support for the arts. He has even received replies from the governor and lieutenant governor!

"I want people in my community to believe that classical music is powerful and very enjoyable. I want people to appreciate classical music and be able to talk to other people about music."

The following letter was sent to Senator Harkin on March 31, 2009:

Dear Senator Harkin:

The purpose of this letter is to request your continued support of classical music through funding. I would also like to invite you to a couple of the classical music performances that I participate in.

My name is John Wen and I am a 15-year-old pianist from Iowa City. I attend West High and have been the State winner of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) twice in a row to represent Iowa in piano competitions. I was chosen by NPR’s “From the Top” to perform live in Daytona Beach, FL in January 2008. I understand that you personally requested the funding for the ten-month residency of classical music education for Iowa’s youth.

The Arts Leadership Program of Iowa Makes Music, funded through your request, has chosen me as one of the ten leaders. This program definitely inspired me to advocate for the enjoyment and appreciation for classical music. Funding helps the effectiveness and success of the promotion of classical music, through non-profit organizations and Iowa’s schools. Non-profit organizations such as From the Top and Orchestra Iowa have been completely dedicated to classical music and they convey high quality classical music to people.

Furthermore, throughout my elementary and junior high years, my education has been enriched with music classes. Early musical experiences in school have been very meaningful to us and should not be overlooked in the future. They expose the amazing world of classical music and begin the impression of a life-long enjoyment of classical music. All of these can be achieved through sufficient funding.

I hope you will continue to support the Iowa Makes Music Residency after the ten-months are up. The residency has exclusively allowed for two live tapings of NPR’s program From the Top in Iowa. In addition, I would like to invite you to a couple of music programs. First, the live taping of From the Top on May 19, 2009 at the Sinclair Auditorium at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. The ten chosen leaders, including me, attending the Leadership Program will be there.

Finally, it would be a true honor if I could invite you to a charity performance at the Englert Theater in Iowa City on April 11, 2009. It begins at 7:30 p.m. with a few peers and me starting off the show. The second half features my piano teacher and some of her student instructors. All net proceeds will be donated to The Englert Theatre and The University of Iowa's School of Music, which suffered catastrophic flood damage in 2008. I hope you would be able to attend in your very busy schedule.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, John Wen