LIVINGSTON, NJ - February's stormy weather may have put a temporary damper on Chinese Culture Day in Livingston, but Saturday's delayed celebration showed it takes more than a little show of temper from Mother Nature to dampen the spirit of one of the township's most vibrant communities.
The gala, at Livingston High School, began with cultural and arts activities, fun for the children, food and even a program of riddles for the adults, and ended with an evening of performances of song, dance, music and martial arts from the traditional to the modern as the township's Chinese residents of every age group and background joyfully demonstrated their tremendous talent and pride in their heritage.
The gala was sponsored by the Livingston Chinese Culture collaborative organization, which is dedicated to celebrating Chinese heritage and culture. The collaboration is led by five Chinese community organizations: The Livingston Chinese Association, Livingston Huaxia Chinese School, Livingston Chinese School, Living Stone Christian Church and Livingston High School, and co-sponsored by the Livingston Youth and Community Services program.
The evening's performance began with a welcome by Xiaole Shen, chairperson of the association, who introduced Livingston Mayor Arlene Johnson. The Mayor thanked all those who began last fall to put the program together and wished all a Happy Year of the Tiger.
She was joined on stage by Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez, Councilman Charles "Buddy" August and Livingston High School Principal Pamela Clause-McGroarty and the members of the organizations who developed the program.
Keeping the program smoothly flowing from one rousing and inspirational activity to the next however, were the four high school masters of ceremony: Christine Sun, Ben Wainberg, Sharon Chen and Stanley Chu.
The performance wound its way in fable, talent and age groups from the Rousing Lion Dance by Livingston High School and the Livingston Chinese Association to dancing of the younger performers of the Livingston Huaxia Chinese School and the Livingston Chinese School to the Chinese yo-yo performer from Livingston High School to the spirited dancing of area senior citizens to the inspiring closing chorus by members of the Living Stone Christian Church.
They say, however, one picture is worth a thousand words—and the bright costumes and displays of talent depicted in photographs accompanying this story speak volumes about the fun enjoyed by all who attended Saturday's "Great Performance."