By Wing Kwok
The standard of excellence in BYU”s performing groups has paid off in an unexpected way.
A Chinese television crew, China Central television, visited the BYU campus this week to film a documentary about BYU”s Young Ambassadors. The documentary came at the request of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Agency in anticipation of the group”s visit to China in May 2007.
The documentary is also the result of the rapport between China and the Young Ambassadors, which are well-known throughout the country.
“Whenever we hear the name BYU, the very first thing that comes to our minds is the Young Ambassadors,” said Xiyan Yu, a production manager for CCTV.
When having dinner with the current Young Ambassadors on Monday night, Yu also said, “I”m very impressed that even though some of their majors are not anything related to music, dance and theater, they still have the excellence standard of performance.”
Yu and Xiaoming Wang, another CCTV journalist, attended a Young Ambassadors performance in 1979. That was also the first time that the group performed in China.
The CCTV crew began their intensive visit on Saturday. They first had tours of the Church Museum and Temple Square. Then, they visited with Mac Christensen, the president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Craig Jessop, a director of the choir.
The crew began filming by getting to know the lives of the performers. They attended classes such as women”s chorus, an acting class and a Chinese literature class that two of the Young Ambassadors attend.
On Tuesday, the crew also had the opportunity to meet with BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson.
“We are grateful for China, for the hospitality to receive them,” said President Samuelson during the CCTV interview. “We are very excited to have the Young Ambassadors go back to China … We believe BYU has a special friendship with the Chinese.”
Shengnan Meng, a hostess for CCTV, who is also known as the Katie Couric of China, said she had an enjoyable time at the dinners with the Young Ambassadors.
Besides Meng, the crew members said they were impressed with the environment of BYU.
“If I could go back to a university, I would like to come to BYU,” Yu said
Wang also agreed. “If there will be an opportunity, I would like my daughter to come here to study,” he said.
When talking about these CCTV guests, Mark Boothe, the president of the Young Ambassadors, said, “They are very kind, and the gospel is going to spread like a fire. I”m excited to be able to further God”s work in China and to prepare the people in China to receive the gospel.”