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Senior Center Performance

January 1, 2018 | ISSUE 8

By Yiyang Liu

Everyone looks very serious and calm as we held the different color paper with our lyrics. We were ready to sing as the real singers. The music started, then singing from first student, then the second and then we were all singing. The stage of that day was the Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Flushing. It was very dazzling because we, the Flushing International Students from many grades and many backgrounds were on stage performing together. Actually, I had imagined this day many times before it happened. I clearly remember all of our hard work, every single challenge we faced, and every tiny detail that was needed to prepare for the day, as I stood on stage getting ready to sing.  

In early September, at the beginning of the school year, I learned there would be a new project in the 12th grade called the “Civics Project: Leaving a Legacy.” The purpose of this project is understand the rights and duties of being a good member of society. In this project, everyone should create something in order to enrich more experiences in our community like creating a club. Even though there were many ideas in my mind, I couldn’t choose the best one. I thought about just following the others, but I asked myself a very serious question: “How can I be successful in the future if I do not have my own idea?" At last, I decided to create an activity in the nursing home with my friend, XiangYuan. The origin of my idea come from every time when I saw the old people I would think of my grandparents and how they should get more attention and warmth. Their family may not have enough time to play and communicate with them. So the goal of our activity was to bring a special performance to the nursing home and communicate with the seniors.

Since Xiangyuan and I could not do this alone, the first step we did was to publicize our event. We used the time of advisory to publicize our project in order to let more students join us, we also made a flyer to put up in the school. After about 1 week, we counted the number of the students and there were more than 20 students interested in taking part. That really made us surprised because we were worried no one would like to join us. At the same time, we were writing the proposal of our project to present to Ms. Lara. There were a lot details we needed to think about for the proposal. For example: the cost, the materials, the teachers that can support us, the time of meeting, etc. The main idea was we needed a plan for our project. Next, we collaborated with each other to distribute the roles. We also found two teachers to support us, Mr. Tony and Ms. Lu. 

On October 19, we met in Room 306 for our first full meeting and we introduced ourselves as the founders and discussed in detail the main ideas of the project with our new members. In the second meeting we had more members to join, and we started sharing some ideas about the program for performance. There was some heated discussions about what would make a good performance, and we had many ideas for the show, for example, dancing, singing, comedy sketches. We figured that we needed to limit the time of the performance to 1 hour because of the requirement of nursing home, so we had to be careful selecting the acts for our performance. By this time we had to communicate a lot with the nursing home in order to set up the schedule. Once we set the say of the performance, we made a timeline of our project in order to plan all the days we would need to practice and rehearse. 

 

Although everyone was busy in the school, they all were taking responsibility to find free time to practice with their partners. They all has own idea about their show, some of them are dancing, some of them are singing. As time went on, the day of the final performance was approaching. We had many obstacles like, we didn’t have enough sound equipment, or days to rehearse as a group, and then the big snow storm came and we lost a day of school. At that point, I started to ask myself “Can I do this?” and the answer was clearly YES because I don’t want gave up. I realized that I have committed to do this project, and I should do my best. 

This was my first time to do this kind of project, so that I was not sure everything that had to be done, and I had to learn as I worked. The week before the performance, I discussed with XiangYuan all the things we still needed to prepare like buying the snacks and prizes and making a program for the show. On the day of the big snow storm, I even went to the nursing home to meet the coordinator double check everything. That was a most crazy thing that I did, but I had to go because the date of final performance was really close.  Also, I had already made appointments with them to check the musical instruments, so I felt it was my responsibility. 

 

On the day of the final rehearsal at the Senior Center, we found that the Musical instruments were hard to control. Even we tried many times, it still did not work well. Although that happened made us felt not comfortable, we still kept the rehearsing- the next day was our performance. The night before the performance, I remembered that my father told me “You already prepared everything  in your plan. But do not fluster if something happen that without your plan because we can’t prevent accidents completely.” 

The day of the performance, the snow had still not thawed in the sun. The road was not easy to walk, but the big team of us kept going. We were so excited to talk about our performance on the road. When we reached there, we started to do preparatory work. As my father had warned, the first “accidents” came. The timeline- something was wrong, and the whole performance needed to be shortened. Then the speakers were not working well, and the seniors were not enthusiastic. But everyone has been prepared long time ago in order to that day, so we just tried the best to keep going. Then we heard some cheers from the seniors for the singing, and we heard some laughter during the comedy sketch. I finally felt every single hard work did not waste. At the end, we handed out snacks and the seniors said “You are welcome to come back here, again!” This voice was really touched us. 

Maybe the result was not as perfect as I imagined before. But at least, we did it and the process was more precious for me than the performance because I learned so much and we had so much fun working together. When the performance was over, at that moment we all wanted to shout out “ We made it!!” We deeply understand that a minute on the stage can take years of work. I learned the plan may different from reality, but more preparing can reduce the accident. This project make me grow up and really feel like I’m an adult. 

 

Performers List: Jiayu Feng, Haobo Yang, Yazhou Gao, Yuanrong Cheng, Shuying Ou, Rachel Wong, Wenqing Zhang, Sonia Ali, Roy Chen, Gerson Artiles, Hosna Wesal, Yueru Lin, Ningxin Pei, Junxiang Wang, Jose Polanco, Joshua M., Joan Borio, Xiangyuan Su, Yiyang Liu