On February 10, 2018, Seagull Leadership International hosted a Chinese New Year inspired performance at Brookdale Senior Center. The performers arrived to a very full audience of seniors, excited for the upcoming performance.
After a short introduction by the activities manager at Brookdale, Teresa Truong, host Jessica Feng announced the first act. The performance began with a cute and festive lion dance by Kenny and Kevin Zhi. It was followed by a beautiful performance of the song “Can You Hear Me” by Alyssa Chen and Sarah Liang. Two dance solos of “Bamboo in the Rain” and “Enchanted Porcelain” by Leah Gao and Alicia Yang featured the various styles and techniques of Chinese folk dance. Raymond Qian then performed a more modern jazz tune called “Andante and Allegro.” Another adorable duo, Cathy Wang and Amber Halvorsen, sang the Chinese song “I Love My Family.” Pianist Brian Fu showed amazing musicianship with his performance of the classical song “Mazurka in A Minor.” The next act was another beautiful showcase of Chinese folk dance with Skylar Qian performing a solo called “Besides the Water.” Then, the lovely song “Spring in Tianshan Mountain” was played by Ryan Rulkens on the Chinese lute or pipa. Connie Shen performed the second classical piano piece of the day. This was followed by another musical performance of “Birds Chirping in the Mountains” by Erik Rulkens on the Chinese fiddle, or erhu. For the final act, the adorable children of Boya Choir sang the songs “Happy New Year” and “Edelweiss,” even inviting the seniors to sing along with them. At the end, a surprise performance by Jennifer He of a beautiful Chinese song concluded the program.
At the end of the performance, all the performers sat in front of the audience for a group picture with all the seniors. Many of the seniors loved and appreciated the performance immensely, and some were even inspired to have their grandchildren learn Chinese folk dance or how to play traditional Chinese instruments. To thank the performers, Teresa handed out oranges, as the color orange symbolizes luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. Small cardboard dog decorations were attached to the packaging to celebrate the Year of the Dog. SLI members also handed out red envelopes representing well-being, happiness, and health to the seniors in the audience. We hope to return to Brookdale with even more entertaining performances later in the year and for future celebrations.