By ASHLEY LEUNG

Being one of the most diverse high schools in Massachusetts, it is no surprise that a large amount of students at Malden High School celebrate Lunar New Year, a traditional holiday that may be one of the most important in many cultures.

MHS honored this holiday by holding the 5th Annual Lunar New Year Festival on Jan. 5, 2014 in the Jenkins auditorium. The Asian Culture Club at MHS had once again teamed up with the Chinese Culture Community (CCC) to bring this event together for the Asian community in Malden.

Since 2009, the Lunar New Year Festival has hosted many traditional and modern performances by members of Chinese organizations and MHS students. Advisor of the Asian Culture Club, Phuong Ho, expressed her feelings about this year’s event, stating that “it is the biggest event that [they] put together every year,” and it allows the club to showcase one of the most important holidays to many Asian cultures.

Preparing the festival took a lot of time for everyone involved in it. Working with the CCC was a good experience for the club, especially with the extra help they were able to give. Phuong complimented her officers whose “organization and leadership skills were impeccable,” and for the fact that they “really spearheaded [the] event.”

However, since the event was comprised of all volunteers, communication was one of the bigger issues that they faced when organizing the festival. Despite these issues, in the end, they were still able to pull off the show with little to no problems.

The show began with a traditional lion dance by the Wah Lum Kungfu and Tai Chi Academy, with a special surprise appearance by Mayor Gary Christenson dressed as the caishen, the money god. Surprising the crowd even more, Christenson spoke a few words of Mandarin after the performance.

The show was hosted by for MCs, Maple Zou, Brad Liang, and MHS’s juniors Sukey Lu and Yating Lu. After an introduction to the show, there was singing performances by CCC’s Multi Arts Performance Troupe of two Chinese songs. The Boston Erhu Ensemble performed after, playing “Pink Panther” and “Horserace.”

Right after were the kicking performances of the Wah Lum Kungfu & Tai Chi Academy of Malden. Students of the school, ages varying greatly, showed off their skills with amazing performances, some including sticks and swords. Next was Yuxi Zhang, who performed “My Country and I.” Following her was “Off Beat,” consisting of seniors Vanessa Law, Yi Qi Lu, Yu Chen, and sophomore Hillary Tan, dancing their cover of Rainbow’s “Tell Me Tell Me.”

Following “Off Beat” was a violin performance by Bryan Tyler, who played the pieces “Each and Every Ant & See a Little Monkey” and “La Campanella.” The male chorus from the Malden Elderly Activity Center sang “Wish” and “Mongolian Hero,” and there was a Chinese Folk Dance solo to the song “Jasmine Flowers” by Monica Ao.

A traditional accordion and gourd performance by HongSheng Jin and Xiao Yue Li of the song “Bamboo Forest Under the Moonlight” was also performed, along with solo performance of “Snow Capped Mountain in the Spring” by Rachel Huo. Huo then had a surprise special performance with Zhang, who sang a classic Chinese New Year song.

Right before intermission, MHS threw their annual Lunar New Year fashion show. The fashion show displayed traditional dresses in a more modern setting. The show was a crowd pleaser, for the short, endearing love scenarios that occurred allowed for the models to present their fashions. Members of the fashion show expressed how fun it was to be a part of the event, from planning each mini skit to actually being on the stage.

After intermission was the full Chinese Chorus of Malden performing “Under the Moonlight” and “Playing Tambourine in Singing,” the second song having tambourines to accompany. Following the chorus was a dance group of MHS students Angela Chen, Fei Zhao, Lu, and Chen.

Their performance started out as a dance for “The Change” but pleasantly surprised the crowd with the song suddenly changing to EXO’s “Growl.” MHS’s Airbound also performed as well, along with Yating Lu and Sukey Lu’s pop dance performance. The Sunset Fashion Group had also held a mini fashion show as well, to show the fashions of traditional Southern China. There was even a Pecking Opera performance by the Boston Chinese Cultural Arts Club. The festival ended with a Latin Dance performed by Lu, Jia Chen, Pingting Yan, Kristy Wong, and Chen.

In future festivals, Phuong hopes that communication between people in the festival will improve. Other members hope to have even better shows in their future years as well. Phuong states although “it is not an easy event to organize, it surely is quite enjoyable to be a part of.”

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