The Great Neck Chinese Association (GNCA) held the 2018 Chinese New Year Celebration at Great Neck North High School on Sunday, Jan. 28, sponsored by New York Wealth/Ocean All-Star.
Community leaders came together, along with 180 intergenerational performers and 80 volunteers to make the day a spectacular success.
“We have been planning this for six months,” said Ke Wei, GNCA copresident. “Nearly 200 performers and 100 volunteers came together to make this happen.”
The audience was welcomed by a stage filled with traditional red Chinese drums played melodically by students from the East Wind Percussion Music Academy, Wang Junling Zither Art School and NACA.
Next, Yana Ballet School’s performance combined ballet and Chinese dance to showcase A Happy Chinese New Year, incorporating flowing red and blue ribbons. Jing Wang, Xiao Li and Mary Chinese School then retold the traditional story of Nian in a creative performance of The Story of Nian. Dressed in traditional Qipao costumes, Great Neck moms from the Jennifer Dance Center then performed Woman and Flower.
Children from the Longwing Educational Institute followed with entertaining dubbed excerpts from classic movies, which kept the audience cracking up. Combining ballet and Chinese dance, the Great Neck School of Dance then performed an elegant Jasmine Flower.
As lights resembling stars circled the room, Aisling Qi sang “Starry Night” solo, accompanying herself on keyboard. East Wind Percussion Music Academy, Jing Wang and Gina then performed Gifts from China on dulcimer and Chinese lute.
Up next, Licheng Dance Studio performed The Red Chinese Knot, directed by Lingling Liu. A comedic skit, Differences in Raising up Children: The Oriental Way and the Occidental Way, had the audience laughing out loud. Then, The ’90s Medley featuring musical hits, accompanying a photo montage, brought viewers on a trip down memory lane.
K-Pop dance performances followed, wowing the audience with high-energy dance moves. In the skit Grandparents that was up next, the Great Neck Chinese Senior Association provided a glimpse at multigenerational families. The Ru Bao Dancing School then presented Cai Wei (Osmund Picking), inspired by the Book of Odes, the oldest known Chinese poem collection.
In the Fitness Dance Performance, the Great Neck Chinese Senior Association demonstrated tai chi and the Ocean All-Stars presented modern fitness dance moves. Also displaying their athletic talents, the Great Neck Soccer Club, Alice Fencing Studio, Shuangzhong Wang Taekwondo and Great Neck Ice Rink showed their stuff in Going to Sports Camps with Daddy.
As the program wound down, the audience was invited to sing along as the Community Church of Great Neck presented three popular Chinese folk songs in The Grand Choir. The volunteers were then thanked for their generous contributions and Angela Chen concluded the afternoon with a solo performance of “An Unforgettable Night,” a classic song often performed at the end of Chinese festivals.
The packed auditorium included local elected officials New York State Senator Elaine Phillips, Nassau County Legislator Ellen W. Birnbaum, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, Great Neck Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent John Powell, Board of Education Trustees Rebecca Sassouni and Jeff Shi, Great Neck Park District Commissioners Robert A. Lincoln, Jr., Frank Cilluffo and Tina Stellato, and Park Superintendent Jason Marra.
“Everyone showed so much pride in their heritage,” said Prendergast. “The parents set such an amazing example for the children.”
This year’s Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dog, will begin on Friday,
Feb. 16. Enjoy GNCA’s holiday message at www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmYgVqXfl8w&feature=youtu.be.