From music and dance performances to an animated video depicting the legend of the monster, Nian, all three assemblies Friday celebrated the Chinese New Year and provided insight on China’s oldest traditional festival.
Each assembly was hosted by students: sixth-graders Sophia Zamfir and Madelyn Kang and fifth-grader Kachi Ikekpeazu for Lower School; Monte Meng and Gavin Yip for Middle School; and Candice Yang and Steven Zhang for Upper School. Mandarin teacher Margaret Wei coordinated the Middle and Upper School assemblies while Chien-Ju Lin, also a Mandarin teacher, organized the Lower School offering.
Lower School students were treated to the traditional Dragon Dance, which featured student performers holding up the colorful creature via poles. By raising and lowering the poles, students made the dragon “dance,” as is the custom at various Chinese festivals and parades on New Year's Day.
All three levels learned about the Chinese folk tale of “Nian,” the fabled monster who lived in ancient China and would descend upon the nearby village on the eve of every New Year. As legend has it, one New Year's Eve a stranger to the village tamed Nian – which means year – by using firecrackers and exploding lights while being dressed all in red. Thus the customs that are inherent in today’s Chinese New Year festivities.
Members of the Upper School Dance Team, including seniors Mari-Christina Clark, Jasmine Johnson, and Chavon Patterson; sophomore Elena Li; and freshman Fendy Feng, performed a beautiful and graceful Chinese Fan Dance for both Middle and Upper Schoolers. Also performing for both of those levels was an Upper School music ensemble consisting of senior Gaileen Andal; juniors Nicholas Ma and Parker Schultz; and sophomore Sadie Shi, who performed the song “Gongxigongxi.” Seventh-grader Sissi Zhang joined them for the Middle School performance.
In the Lower School, a string ensemble featuring fourth- and fifth-graders performed the “Flower Drum of Fengyang,” a traditional Chinese folk song. Sixth-grader Bella Liu performed a traditional Chinese dance called Hongyan, meaning swan goose, while fellow sixth-grader Jiali Yang displayed a Chinese painting; and fifth-grader Duncan Burd showed off some of his black belt karate moves.
Senior Andy Liu shared with his Upper School peers a short film he created called “The Ocean in our Dream.” The poignant movie depicted one boy’s challenges in meeting his mom’s expectations and featured various students and faculty members from Hamden Hall. The film received a standing ovation.
Executive chef Anthony Groh and his staff also got in the spirit of the holiday by serving such Asian delights as tofu fried rice, dan dan noodle, edamame, kimchi, Szechuan chicken, and vegetarian egg rolls in Lender Refectory during the various lunch waves. Middle School students in Mandarin 1 did some cooking of their own as they made dumplings during class time.Click here
to view a slideshow highlighting all three assemblies.