On March 12, 2016 afternoon, the first “Confucius Cup” San Francisco Bay Area Asian Youth Talent Competition Grand Finale held at Skyline College Theater! The competition was co-sponsored by Sandong Association and Shin Shin Educational Foundation, with support from Myriad Music School & Dance Academy, Tianmu Foundation, Silicon Valley Women Association and UBC. We received strong support from a number of associations and overseas Chinese in Bay Area.
The competition finals, in addition to vocal music and dance, a collection of piano, violin, cello performances and other instruments, promoted fine arts exchange for the next generation. Within two months, the competition received 120 outstanding applications.
Mr. Sean Peng, Chairman of Sandong Association and the First Executive Vice President of US Shandong Fellowship Association, gave an opening remarks. Chairman Peng encouraged contestants to “choose the right path, having the courage to pursue their dreams. Despite the road to pursue dreams appears difficult, there will always be wonderful people to help you along the way.” He congratulated and expressed admiration to the contestants for their achievements. He explained that when he was at the same age as the contestants, he was attending school in poor rural area of China, similar to the students who were funded by Sandong Association and Shin Shin Educational Foundation today. Chairman Peng expressed appreciation to everyone includes Sandong Association consultants, volunteers and colleagues from Shin Shin Educational Foundations, philanthropists whose tremendous support and participation resulting in the success today.
President Mr. Yuan Wen from Shin Shin Educational Foundation remarked that Shin Shin built 342 schools in rural remote area of China.
The Steinway Artist pianist Sandra Wright Shen, on behalf of judges, shared her music experiences and journey, where music touches her soul, enhanced exchanges with others.
The Talent Competition judge panel was composed of prestigious professional musicians and artists, including Director and Conductor Mitchell Sardou Klein from Peninsula Symphony, and Director and Conductor Daniel Stewart from Santa Cruz Symphony, the national well-known pianist Sandra Wright Shen, famous singer Gaoman Hua, who share common passion for education, welfare and arts. It is unusual that the judges would meet with young contestants prior competition, encouraging perseverance on pursuing their dreams. In the final scene, the judge passionate comments sparked applauses from audience one after the other, nearly 400 audiences immersed in a 3 hour long performances.
Jessica Li, the prize winner from Piano group Grade 6-8, gave a full performance while she was still sick. After watching the performance her father John commented “this collection of musical instruments, singings and dancing as an integrated talent contest was the first time I have seen in San Francisco Bay Area. Each program finalists were very impressive and fascinating. The final contest was very professional and well accomplished. In the past decade, our children participated in various national and international competitions and venues, this was the best that has ever done”.
Ethan Chi, the 1st place winner from Piano Group 9-12 expressed his final thoughts, “ the fact that I was able to enjoy this experience from traditional Chinese, classical Western to modern Pop music dance was both intoxicating and inspiring. It left a deep impression in me to recognize how meaningful it is to support education for the poor areas of China.
Andrew Wu, the 1st place winner from Grade 6-8 instrumental group, was humorous when Judge Daniel Stewart asked how he like the accordion. He replied “ I used to play the piano, accordion is the only instrument that resembled piano. There are many small buttons, very cool. Unlike piano, you can bring it to everywhere.” The audiences burst in laughter.
Thomas Lim, the first place winner from the Grade 9-12th group, was accompanied by his teacher Yi-Fang Wu, commented “allow the contestants to be able to have interactive exchange to better understand music, shorten the distance between the contestants and audiences”.
Leland Smith, the 1st place winner from Grade 6-8 singing group, sang national anthem in Bay Area last year.
MSJ Syncopasians, the 1st place winner from Grade 6-8 signing group, introduced themselves that they found time to practice every week. The team has a long lasting history, and this year is their 8th generation.
Kristen Wu, the 1st place winner from 9-12 grade dance group, won tons of praises from the judges.
Emily Hou, Hannah Wang, Ellie Huang from Xiaopei Chinese Dance Inc.
All finalist contestants were excelled in their performances. After fierce competition, 23 contestants were selected for 1st to 3rd place prizes. The background of contestants were diverse, from Chinese, Korean, Indian, and Japanese.
Garette Blosen was the winner of 3rd prize from German and Chinese decedents family. Garette’s mother Angela stressed “the high level of this competition left a deep impression in people’s mind. The stage lightning is beautiful. Our friends are excited to apply for next year. This competition helps everyone to further understand and cherish Asian culture and its roots”.
Jeanna Joseph, the Indian contestant who won the 9-12 Singing 2nd place Award, spoke after the final that “talent to participate in this league is a very good experience. All the contestants are talented, judges are experienced, wise, gave constructive evaluations. Competition was organized in helping to establish funding for building schools. This competition is meant the best opportunity to encourage Asian Chinese, further improve the universal of education”.
Jenny Miao, dance prize winner message: “after watching a couple pianists who finished their competitions and still went back to ready room to practice piano, immersed in the rhythms of music impressed me dearly. Parents commented after the final competition, “the competition not only gives Asian teenagers a platform to showcase their talents, but also provides them the opportunity to learn from each other, through donating items to be used for poor area of China in helping establishing schools”.
Lily Liu, the 2nd place prize winner from Grade 9-12 instrumental group, her father commented that “although this was the first time we have the talent competition, it was established at a very high standard. All parents can see this level of accomplishment.”
Zhuoran Tao, the 2nd prize winner from piano grades 9-12, his mother stated “for the first time I saw my son so nervous to concentrate on preparation of the contest. He met some very talented students, who broaden his horizon and capacity. He was very happy that this event can also helped students in China to bring Chinese community closer together in a meaningful manner”.
Confucius Cup San Francisco Bay Area Youth Talent Competition Committee extended their sincere thanks to all judges. They are fully committed to next generation’s artistic growth. They were: Daniel Stewart, Mitchell Sardou Klein, Sandra Wright Shen, Manhua Gao, Annie Cao, Simone Bley, Nina O’Brien, Yang Yang, and Jing Zahng.
The competition formed partnerships with two major national musical events, following steady streams of opportunities. Selected winners will receive invitations from American Fine Arts Festival to perform at New York Carnegie Hall. Instrumental and selected vocal winners will receive up to $2,000 scholarship from 80 year old historical Brevard Music Center. Oversea Chinese Office of Shandong Province generously sponsored 23 summer camp positions in the intent to help kids to find their roots.
Mr. Liyou Zha, Deputy Consul General of Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, and Wang Jun consul in cultural group attended the finals, awarding the contestant trophy, and presented a congratulatory letter to the organizers. Deputy Consul General Liyou Zha in concluding remarks said that “this event reflects the union of oversea Chinese from Sandong Association and Shin Shin Educational Foundation, carrying forward the Chinese culture, pure feelings, care and support of development of China. Aspiration of the oversea China-US friendship, desire of prosperous and peaceful reunification of the China Nation as a big family, working together for a harmonious society is the fundamental interest and responsibility of everyone”.
David Chan, Representative of California Assembly Member David Chiu, and David Wiener, Supervisor of San Francisco issued certificates of recognition to Sean Peng, chairman of Sandong Association, and Wen Yuan, the President of Shin Shin Educational Foundation.
Cupertino major Barry Chang issued certificates of recognition to re-affirm the competition’s contribution to the Asian community harmony and development of the next generation talent.
(Front row: Sean Peng, Chairman of Sandong Association, Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang, President Yuan Wen, Shin Shin Educational Foundation
Rear Row: Aziz Syed, Daly City Vice Mayor David Canepa, Vice Chairman of Sandong Association Mei-ling Wang, Cupertino former Mayor Kris Wang, Albert Chang, former Chairman of Sandong Association, former President of US Shandong Fellowship Association, Vice Chairman of Sandong Association Chin C Wu, Vice Chairwoman Chen Jie, Vice Chairman Lei Liu)
Daly City Vice Major David Canepa declared March 12 as “Sean Peng Day” and “Sangdong Association Day”, in recognition of this competition to unite all Asian, significant contribution to the promotion of the exchange of talent.
The colorful trophy collection displayed the effort dedicated for next generation education in China. With oversea Chinese support and contribution, we are able to pursue dreams and give back to the society.
The first “Confucius Cup” Competition finalized with cheering among talent contestants, judges and guests.
Sandong Association was one of the oldest oversea Chinese association in the culture heritage of Confucius and Mencius, sponsored numerous educational effort ever since. Shin Shin Educational Foundation has built 342 schools since 1997.
For competition grand finale videos, please visit:
For more competition grand finale photos, visit: Photo Gallery
We greatly appreciate all friends’ support and caring to the Confucius Cup of San Francisco Bay Area Asian Youth Talent Competition. If you would like to donate to school funding this year, please contact Sean Peng at 650-692-2000. All suggestions and feedback (including any thoughts on participating in the next contest), please email us at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Photographer Linda Liu @ Linda Wedding Photography
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