Amanda Yuxin Dai, Music Director
We are honored to have Amanda as our music director. She is a conductor and pianist who graduated from Northwestern University with a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
When she sang in a choir during her first year of college in an award-winning choir, she was impressed by the choir’s beautiful sound and by the manner in which a conductor’s gestures could impact the expression of singers and instrumentalists alike, bringing unity to all.
Her background speaks for her dedication to music and her perseverance to succeed. Here’s a quote from a translated interview on Sohu.com: Yuxin was born in an artistic family. Her grandmother was a famous Peking Opera artist in Shanghai in the last century, and her father is a senior television director. Influenced by the family atmosphere, she began professional piano studies at the age of four and has always maintained a strong interest in music. Adhering to her dream and love for music, she was enrolled in to Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the top music school in China, where she received more comprehensive and rigorous training. “Life at the Conservatory of Music was very hard.” Yuxin recalled: “We often run to the cafeteria for meals at noon and in the evening, just to save a bit of time for practice. Sometimes it was almost midnight when we left the practice room, and we even slept in the practice room before concerts and exams.”
Dr. Frank Saunders, Minister of Music
Music adds an emotional element to liturgical worship, creating a mood of reverence and bringing the congregation together in songs of praise. As musicians, we both lead the hymns and offer our anthems as an integral part of the service. My wife Barbara, daughter Andrea and I have been active members of the St. Ambrose congregation since 1996. We were previously at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ross, where I served as organist and keyboard leader of their contemporary “Folk Mass” for over twenty years. A graduate of Juilliard in Piano and pedagogy, I taught piano and opera at Indiana University before coming to California in 1966.
“Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works.” (I Chronicles 16:9)