An array of Chinese dance and music styles will be showcased at this year’s Sound of Spring Gala, presented by Hunting Hills High School.
The show, also hosted by the Hunting Hills High School’s Mandarin Program and the Red Deer & District Chinese Community Society, runs Feb. 18th in the school’s gym starting at 7 p.m.
Variety is the defining word for the production, which celebrates the Chinese New Year.
Teacher Sandy Cai is at the helm of the Sound of Spring Gala, which features music, singing, dancing and drama.
“We always try to have a variety – singing, dance, drama – we also have some programs from the Chinese community.
“For dance, we have Chinese traditional dances and we have the students sing some Chinese songs.”
Besides putting a performance together, Cai also pointed out that preparing for the production is something of a rich learning experience as well.
“They’re learning through the songs, and with the dramas it’s the same thing – they learn the culture. They not only learn ancient Chinese history and literature, it helps with their own language skills as well.
“There’s the cultural (aspects), language and learning all involved. That’s my purpose.”
It’s also something of collaboration with the Red Deer & District Chinese Community Society, she said, in terms of sponsorship and the featuring of artists and musicians in the show as well.
Student Jacob McKinley is helping to emcee the performance along with two others, as well as doing some singing and acting through the course of the show as well.
“Usually the scripts are pretty light-hearted so you can joke around a little bit while maintaining some seriousness – and the interaction with the crowd is interesting,” he said. McKinley, now in Grade 12, is also planning on continuing his post-secondary studies in China.
“I think I’ve always been interested in Asian culture. I have a side of the family that is Chinese, so I’ve been exposed to it from a very early age. I think it’s so interesting – China is one of the longest lasting nations in the world – thousands and thousands of years – so that’s interesting.”
McKinley hopes that audiences will gain a greater appreciation for the culture, art and history of China by taking in the Sound of Spring Gala.
“The songs and performances that we are doing are very enjoyable even if you don’t speak or understand Mandarin,” he said.
Cai agreed. “I just want everyone to be aware of the Chinese New Year. Not everyone can travel there, so that’s why we are trying to bring ‘Asian flavour’ to Red Deer.”
Cai did point out there will be an interpreter onhand as well during Sound of Spring.
Lawrence Lee, director of the Red Deer and District Chinese Community Society, said the Society partners with the high school in planning the celebration.
“I think for me it’s a look at a cultural event that’s being celebrated across the world,” he said. “It’s our primary celebration for the Chinese cultural societies internationally.”
Advance tickets for the show ($5) can be picked up at the Hunting Hills High School bookstore, the Jasmine Palace, Red Star restaurant and the Noodle House and various Chinese restaurants throughout the City.
Tickets are also available at the door for $6.
There is also Chinese New Year Banquet prior to the performance– tickets are $20 for the supper, which includes the show as well. They must be purchased at the school.