As a performing artist, Grove's Jana Jae knows the power behind music.

Beyond the notes which decorate a page, music can transcend geographic, economic and language barriers.

It can help unite a people, when words and governmental policies fail.

This month, Jae is spending time both at home and abroad, spreading the love of her craft.

Call her a musical ambassador of sorts. One who loves to see people of all ages experience a chance to love music.

"I love to teach and share and interact, and see people coming on strong," Jae said. "It's my way to give back.

"Finding joy of music. That's what's rewarding to me."

That love led her to accept an invitation, along with Barry "Bones" Patton and her sister, Cheri Gans, to attend the Fourth Silk Road International Arts Festival in China.

The festival, which opened in Xi'an on Sept. 7, has performers from more than 100 countries and regions participating a variety of cultural and artistic activities.

The two-and-half week long festival, which is coming to a close, included at least two classical concerts.

Upon her return from China, Jae will immediately leave for two weeks of teaching junior and high school aged students in Mexico.

She jokes she often relies on the music "to speak for her" when words fail.

"Music is a way to build bridges, it's a way of expressing peace, harmony and goodwill," Jae said, adding she's proud to represent America, and Grove, as she travels around the world.

"There is such a connection with music," Jae said. "All of the problems of the world, the political stuff, just disappears.

"You are aware it's going on, but it disappears. It changes your whole focus in life."

Jae said she enjoys sharing music and watching how people react. She also likes seeing how it helps unite people beyond national borders. 

"We are all God's children and all have the same basic goals," Jae said. "We want to live in peace, in harmony with our family and friends.

"Music is the uniting face, to take a message of goodwill from the American people to others."

Serving at home

During Labor Day weekend, just prior to her trip to China, Jae spent time with more than 100 students - ranging in age from kindergarten to adulthood - learning new techniques at her annual Fiddle Camp.

The yearly tradition, which Jae calls her "favorite weekend of the year" began in 2002. It included instructors for the fiddle, guitar, cello and more.

Jae said she's watched as performers such as Eric Dysart, who now plays fiddle for Backroads Anthem; and others - many of whom are family groups - gain a love for music.

"You see people catch on fire and make [the music] their own," Jae said. "It's a lifetime gift.

"People of all ages catch the music fever and it does something wonderful."

Jae said while her schedule does not allow her to take on regular students, the camp gives her a chance to "spice things up" and teach and share.

"It's so rewarding when the lightbulb goes off, when someone has learned the tune and they watch the reaction of the audience," Jae said. "There's a sense  of accomplishment of really showing someone how to connect [with] music."

Jae said each year, she hopes students walk away, inspired by something they've learned either in a teaching workshop or evening jam session.