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YCIS celebrates Seeds of Hope project

AN international school's efforts to improve the lives of less fortunate people in China was recently celebrated with a grand musical performance in Qingdao, Shandong Province.

Last month, Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) celebrated their Seeds of Hope project, a commitment borne from the overwhelming tragedy of the devastating Sichuan Province earthquake in 2008.

Through the project, YCIS pledges to build schools in areas of need in China, one school annually in every province where there is a YCIS campus. The occasion was marked by a tremendous musical performance on March 31 at the Grand Theater in Qingdao, Shandong Province, which was selected as the first location for the project.

More than 100 students from YCIS Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Qingdao made up the orchestra. Children aged 7 to 18 graced the stage with musical arrangements provided by Gary Sanderson, head of the Music and Visual Arts Division. Performances took the form of solos, duets, full orchestral pieces and an extensive choir.

The range of musical styles, genres and ensembles reflected the multicultural embodiment of YCIS and was epitomized by one magical piece, named "Yi Meng Shan." Supported by the orchestra, Year 13 student Michelle Han accompanied as a violin soloist; alongside the solemn strings came the clear voices of two YCIS teachers, one Chinese and one Western. Sanderson recalled this as "powerful, dramatic beauty - a pivotal and emotional union of the East and West, shining beside musical youth."

The young players gathered from their different school locations only one day before the concert to combine all parts and components of their pieces previously well practiced. "It was impressive given that the students had such little time to practice together," said Sanderson. "That performance was, to date, the strongest delivery on technical skills by our students."

For one seven-year-old from YCIS Qingdao, her first experience playing the violin with a full orchestra on a magnificent stage was simply "the best concert ever!"

In attendance were education and government official guests plus the members of the Yew Chung Directorate. Dr Betty Chan, director of YCIS, delivered a welcome speech on the importance of Seeds of Hope and the long-lasting practical ways YCIS students can align with love and charity. A primary student then joined Chan on the stage for a symbolic and meaningful seed-sowing ceremony, before the concert ended the evening on a high note.


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