A gala celebration featuring both international and local entertainers – presented by the White Rock Chinese Association – will usher in the Year of the Rooster this coming January.
The Sunday, Jan. 22 event at the Bell Performing Arts Centre (6250 144 St.), is called Spring China at White Rock, underlining the fact that while there is no such thing, per se, as ‘Chinese New Year’ in Chinese culture, a festival welcoming the beginning of spring is one of the biggest traditional celebrations in the Chinese calendar.
As retired UBC and SFU professor Jan Walls told a crowd of some 50 people who gathered at the launch announcement last Friday at White Rock Community Centre, “for westerners. it would be like packaging Christmas, New Year’s and Easter all together in one festival.”
The celebration, which began in 2010 in South Surrey’s LifeChurch, is marking its second year at the Bell Centre in recognition of the growth of the Chinese community in White Rock and South Surrey, and that community’s desire to embrace both Chinese and Canadian culture and traditions and worthy projects on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
In keeping with this, partial proceeds of Spring China at White Rock, which is sponsored by Landmark Premier Properties, will be going to the Peace Arch Hospital and Community Health Foundation, WRCA executive president Cici Liang said.
“I want to show joy and love to our community,” said WRCA president Joanne Ding. “I firmly believe we will build a better, stronger community together.”
The multicultural extravaganza will begin at 5 p.m. with an arts exhibition, refreshments and interactive games, with gymnastic exhibitions in the adjacent Sullivan Heights Secondary gymnasium, while a two-hour gala performance starting at 7 p.m. will feature some 80 professional and amateur musicians, singers and dancers from both Chinese and Western cultural traditions.
Emphasizing the cultural aspect, Ding’s daughter Ingrid Yang, seven – already a popular child star in Canada’s Chinese communities – held the crowd at the announcement enthralled with an a capella rendition of a Chinese operatic song.
Surrey opera singer Willy Miles-Grenzberg noted that like the group Silk Road Music with which he has performed in the past, the festival will “bring western and eastern influences together.”
“We’ll be singing in English, Italian and Mandarin,” he said.
Jim Bindon, director of philanthropy for the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation said that, until Feb. 14, under a grant from the community, every donation up to $1 million will be matched dollar for dollar.
“We’d like to invite you to join with us to help turn $1 million into $2 million for our hospital and foundation,” he said, noting that the foundation is very close to meeting its $15 million target for the planned expansion of the emergency department.