Lunar Festival Welcomes Year of the Dog

On February 17, Mandarin Club hosted the annual Lunar New Year Concert. The concert celebrated the turn of the year for the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on the moon’s phases, as opposed to the solar calendar that most of us are used to. Each year corresponds to an animal of the Chinese zodiac, repeating every twelve years. Last year we celebrated and lived through the Year of the Rooster, and we have now entered the Year of the Dog.

Several weeks before the concert, preparations began with auditions hosted by the Mandarin Club. Almost anyone who expressed interest was welcome, resulting in a rich variety for the performance. The concert featured people from all parts of the Western Reserve Academy community with a variety of performances. The acts ranged from traditional dances to Chinese rap, even including a finale of a group K-pop dance. Some of the students were performing in their native languages, but the concert also had members of the WRA Mandarin classes showcasing what they have learned. One group from the Mandarin II class sang a song accompanied by a music video of their own production, bringing smiles (maybe even a couple tears) to everyone in the audience. The auditions, as well as the performers’ diligent practice and rehearsal in preparation for the concert, certainly paid off. Some students were new to the stage, but the show also included some of our own WRA dancers and performers from previous years.

Rain Wu ‘20 and Xi Gong ‘18 were the hosts for the evening. They introduced each act with a brief description and some light banter. The audience appreciated their involvement just as they did for everyone in the performances. Also, throughout the concert raffles prizes were drawn, with the winners decided by tickets given at the door. This particular writer was not lucky that night, but others left with a host of great prizes.

The concert was kicked off with an energetic dance performance to “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” by BTS, the K-pop group whose popularity has exploded as of late, even in the US. Amy Zhou ‘19 was one of the members of the group for the dance and said she enjoyed being part of it. She remarked, “My favorite part was getting to see my friends dance on stage and cheer them on.” Another crowd favorite was Tien Nguyen ‘19’s “Popping Dance,” a truly unique performance with mesmerizing movements. Bravo to all of the performers, and we hope to see you on stage in the future!

The festivities did not end with the concert. Afterward, the student body rushed to the Green Key (with tickets in hand to get line priority) for the dinner that follows the concert each year. Families from the WRA community donate their time (and cuisine) to bring an abundance of dishes for students to enjoy. Thank you to everyone that was a part of the performance and the dinner afterward. Here’s to a happy new year, and wishing everyone a prosperous Year of the Dog.

– Matthew Bloom ’19

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