Youth Talent Show Raises Over $2,600 for Charity

PLEASANTON — The young man walked on stage, holding onto his mother. His full Native American garb along with a colorful headdress immediately attracted audience’s attention. Nervously, he approached the microphone, and mumbled, “Hello, my name is Lawrence Wang.” The crowd watched in silence as he fumbled with his saxophone and drum pad. Then he played the first note of the instantly recognizable intro, and all apprehension and clumsiness dissipated as he immersed himself into music by alternating between the saxophone and drums. His rich voice with a perfect pitch filled the room. “Young men, there’s no need to feel down...” The audience, enraptured, began to clap along and form letters with their arms “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA...” As the last note ended, audience gave a thunderous applause and cheers. This heartwarming performance was only one of the many extraordinary talents displayed at the Global Leadership Initiative (GLI) fourth talent show, held at Tri-Valley Chinese Bible Church on Saturday, August 20th. 

The event kicked off at 7 PM with an introduction by Darron Dai, who highlighted GLI’s community services and achievements in the past academic year. The show featured several talented musicians. Roger Sun, an accomplished violinist played the technically formidable “Violin Concerto, Op. 47” by Jean Sibelius. Justin Wang, a 13-year-old piano prodigy who has won second place at the American Protégé Competition and performed three times at Carnegie Hall, played a beautiful rendition of “Clair de Lune”. Other young musicians played a variety of instruments, from the cello, saxophone to Guzheng, an ancient Chinese instrument. 

 Impressive vocalists also captivated the audience. Jenny Wang sang and played on the piano "Say Goodnight,” a piece written by herself, and Bojun Huang demonstrated his talent by singing the classic "Home on the Range.” The show even featured GLI’s own band, performing the pop song “Demons,” led by the powerful vocals of Evan Yang and Reda Jia.

The instrumentals and songs were also matched by the equally masterful dancers, who lightened the mood and turned up the energy level with their performances, including Rena Gong’s jazz dance to Fergie’s “Glamorous," and Emily Hou, Hannah Wang, and Ellie Huang performing "Joyful Time by the Water". GLI’s own dance team, led by Ashley Zhuang, wowed the crowd with a fun and energetic hip-hop dance "Hit the Quan.” A powerful demonstration of Chinese Martial Arts offered another display of careful choreography and persistent practice. A surprise hit was Darron Dai’s crowd-pleasing yo-yo freestyle, whose elaborate tricks delighted the audience. In between performances, the Masters of Ceremony Ashley Zhuang, Diana Fang, Kevin Gao, and Shannon Yan entertained the audience with playful banter and jokes.

Most notably, the event showcased three autistic performers from Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), a group dedicated to helping special need children discover their hidden talents. Lawrence Wang, the performer mentioned at the beginning, was scared of loud sounds until he attended a music summer camp at the age of 19. Within three months, he became adept at the saxophone, and moved on to other instruments. Alice Jen, another autistic musician, played "Yellow River Concerto,” her splendid performance reminded us that of the world-renowned pianist Lang Lang. Jasmine Dana gave a superb, lively Bollywood Dance, her effervescent smile emphasizing the sheer joy expressed through her graceful movements. Each act was awe-inspiring and moving. FCSN Vice President Anna Wang spoke for the children with special need and encouraged people to focus on what disabled children can contribute to the world and provide them with love and support.

 Another guest Andy Li, the Tri-Valley president of the Asian Pacific-Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA), praised the work of GLI students. “Those children lead the way for Asian and Pacific-Islander youths, and are the leaders of tomorrow.”

 The show was organized entirely by students from East Bay high schools. It generated a high turnout and fundraised over $2,600, all of which will be donated to local and international charitable organizations such as Uganda Orphans through Action for Children, Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), and the Oversea China Education Foundation.

 GLI’s Talent Show was a big success: entertaining the crowd, showcasing performers’ unique talents, providing youth with the opportunity to organize events, and bring different communities together to make the world a better place.

by: Jonathan Ye

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