By Gracia Lei, bostonese.com
New York City, Jan. 17, 2018, — For the typical American, the new year festivities ended with the passing of December. For the prominent Chinese populations within the States, the American new year marks the beginning of theirs. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, lands on February 16 of this year and is the most celebrated holiday of the year (as measured through the Lunar Calendar).
It’s been a long standing part of tradition to host the Spring Festival, which, if translated to the millennial era, consists of a gala with a series of performances that is widely broadcasted, usually on national television known as China Central TV (CCTV). The performances are generally inclusive of the passing years’ accomplishments and very much resembles the ball dropping in Times Square New Years Eve, except that the performances aren’t held in Times Square.
This year the celebration branched their overseas festivities in Manhattan to be covered by channels four (CCTV-4) and seven (CCTV-7), and ICN TV Network (ICN) in New York City. Such a grand event of “2018 Lunar New Year Gala” took place at a befitting venue, the Manhattan Center. The CCTV station took a whole month’s preparation before the actual date of the Chinese New Year in which the prior recorded happenings of the gala will be broadcasted real time.
Mr. Wanjun Qiao, the president of the North American Chorus Association (NACA) was chosen to be the conductor of the Gala’s choir. From the beginning of 2018, the Philharmonic Choir, a selected number of with the North American Chorus Association (NACA) of Boston, had been practicing a few tunes under the direction of the world-renowned music director, assisted by pianist Ms. Ling Guo. The pieces include “Homeland of China” (老家在中国), “Heir of the Dragon” (龙的传人) and “Sing of the Homeland” (歌唱祖国).
The members of the Philharmonic choir, in a count of close to forty, left Boston early in the morning of Tuesday, January 16th for New York but returned the next day, after what many attendees would state to be a life-changing performance; a dream come true on one of the world’s most renowned stages. Upon their arrival to the Manhattan Center, the choir joined by six other choirs from around North America, all within the association (NACA) quickly made use of the afternoon for the dress rehearsal and preparation for the evening festivities. These choirs, totalling numbers over a hundred include Melody (旋律) from Philadelphia, Star Light (星光) from Canada, [name not listed] from Montreal，Connecticut Chinese (康华) and Voice from Hometown (乡音) from New Jersey, and lastly Peking University Alumni Choir (北大校友合唱团) from their home state in New York. Many of the attendees from out of state arrived the earliest and also stayed additional time to tour the beloved city of Lady Liberty.
Later that evening, the choirs finally showed off their hard work for the soon-to-be internationally broadcasted event. Towards the end, Director Qiao invited some hundreds of audience in the gala to join along to a spontaneous singing of Unforgettable Night (难忘今宵), another popular song typically performed at closing ceremonies. Other prominent performers The 2018 Lunar Manhattan Gala concluded the winner of Sing! with the array of earlier acts consisting of dancers, solo artists, as well as local state and government representatives of New York joining the choir onstage to close the ceremony.