Chinese Program hosts gala celebrating Chinese New Year

Joshua Ceballos/Assistant News Director

The FIU Chinese Program’s 2018 Chinese New Year Gala was a showcase of art, culture, and national traditions for the people of FIU and the surrounding area.

The gala, held in SIPA 125 on Friday, Feb. 16, began at 6 PM with the Chinese Club serving dinner to guests and volunteers. Two tables were set up with signs explaining the food on display: a traditional Chinese food table, and an “American Chinese food” table.

After the hour allotted for dinner, the festivities began with introductions from faculty at the School of International & Public Affairs and the Modern Languages Department, including Li Ma, the director for the Chinese Program.

With the introductions done, the first performers took the stage (or rather, the front of the auditorium).

The first performance was by Nee’s Kung Fu Academy, a martial arts school based in Hollywood, FL. A group of young students, elementary to middle school age, performed a choreography of martial arts using swords and fists, using acrobatics in a way that made it as much a dance as it was a fight scene.

After Nee’s Academy finished their showing, Hua Mei’s Children’s Performing Arts Group was up next. The groups choir, made up of children between three and five years old, sang the song “Happy Chinese New Year” in Mandarin.

Various other singing groups performed, including the Chinese children’s group at Crossbridge Church, Huamei’s duo of Diane Li and Trinity Taboada, and Miami Chinese Chorus Group.

Aside from singing performances, the showcase included a traditional Chinese dance by Chunfeng Dance Studio, a song played on the Chinese stringed instrument called the Guzheng, and a Mandarin poem recitation by FIU’s own Chinese Program students.

The gala was not without its setbacks, according to Ma. There were some sound quality issues throughout the performances, with mics and music cutting in and out during songs and recitations.

“When we tried to book the Graham Center Ballrooms, it was taken in advance [which is why it was in SIPA],” said Ma. “We would’ve preferred to have it in GC, as we didn’t expect the mics to not work tonight.”

All in all, however, Ma believes that this was a worthwhile experience despite the technical issues.

“I think it was a very successful event because of the nice things people had to say about the performances,” said Ma. “My daughter’s choir [the Crossbridge Church group] singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ was my favorite performance. Sorry, I’m biased,” said Ma with a laugh.

Photos by Ivan A. Jimenez/PantherNOW

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