A Memento for Angel Island Oratorio

Angel Island Oratorio Plaque: Woodwork by Young Wong

Young Wong enjoys working with wood, now that he has retired after 46 years of practicing architecture. He currently advises North East Medical Services, one of the largest community health centers in the United States targeting the medically under-served population. He is a master of Choy Li Fut & Wing Chun kung fu.

To make this plaque, which was inspired by the immigrant poems carved into the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station, Young chose to work with poplar, a hard wood with nice color and grain. Young carved the Angel Island Oratorio logo and composer Huang Ruo’s signature into the wood with a Shaper Origin handheld CNC router. The plaque was oiled, and engraved areas filled with stain. After sanding with 2000 grit sandpaper, the piece was sprayed with a Spar Urethane protective coating and hardware attached for hanging.

While working on the Angel Island Oratorio project, Young discovered new information about his own family history with the receipt of interrogation transcripts from the National Archives. Young’s father, “Billy“ Gew Thet Wong was detained on Angel Island from January 21 to February 1931, after immigrating from Toisan, China to San Francisco at the age of twelve. In 1930, Young’s father-in-law, Edmund Fong was brought to Angel Island, three months after his birth, as instructed after the conditional release of his expectant mother, Wun Shee Fong. Young’s master, Sifu E.Y. Lee, also came through Angel Island, immigrating from China at the age of 13 in 1941.

Creating this special Hewlett 50 Arts Commission memento, in celebration of Huang Ruo & Del Sol Quartet’s Angel Island Oratorio, was a meaningful way for Young to remember and honor his ancestors.

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