Van-Anh Vanessa Vo will perform a concert as part of The Big Read Holland Area on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

Vo will perform a program featuring traditional music from North, Central and South Vietnam, arrangements of Western contemporary music for Vietnamese instruments, and her original compositions, in collaboration with Hope College jazz students and faculty.

Vo devotes her life-long passion and mastery of the dantranh zither to the creation of distinctive music blended with a cultural essence that comes from the unique Vietnamese instrument. Among her accomplishments are the 2009 Emmy Award-winning soundtrack for the documentary Bolinao 52, which she co-composed and recorded, and the soundtrack for the Sundance best documentary and 2003 Academy Awards nominee Daughter from Danang. Vo also co-composed and recorded for the recent documentary A Village Called Versailles, winner of the New Orleans Film Festival Audience Award.

Vo began studying dantranh at age four, and graduated and taught at the Vietnam Academy of Music. In 1995, she won the championship in the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition, along with the first prize for best solo performance of modern folk music. She has since performed in more than 14 countries and recorded in many broadcast programs inside and outside of Vietnam. Her first CD, Twelve Months, Four Seasons, was released in 2002.

In addition to dantranh, Van-Anh also performs as soloist on the monochord (bau), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thapluc), the bamboo xylophone (dant’rung), the k’longput, traditional drums (trong) and Chinese guzheng. She lives and teaches dantranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California.

The Big Read Holland Area, which is coordinated by Hope College in partnership with Herrick District Library, is a community-wide reading event that will be focusing on Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried.  The book is a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories based on O’Brien’s experiences serving in the 46th Infantry Regiment of the 23rd Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.

The program will feature several other main events and book discussions hosted by a variety of community organizations across the month of November.  The opening celebration will feature the address “The Legacy of Their Burdens” by Dr. Fred Johnson, associate professor of history at Hope, on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium. The program’s keynote address will be by O’Brien on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Commons of Evergreen.  More information about all of The Big Read Holland Area activities is available at

The Big Read Holland Area is supported through an award to Hope through “The Big Read,” a program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest.  Managed by Arts Midwest, The Big Read is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure.

Hope is one of only 75 non-profit organizations nationwide, and one of only two in Michigan, to receive a grant to host a “Big Read” project between September 2015 and June 2016.  In addition to this grant, Vo's performance is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church is located at 195 W. 13th St., on the corner of 13th Street and Maple Avenue.