The Chinese senior citizen-led singing and silver dancing group from Austin Senior Center will put on a dazzling display this Saturday, February 3, at 2:30 p.m. to mark the Year of the Dog.
The performance came together after Hwai Min Wood, the branch manager, was inspired by the group’s talent.
“Several months ago, they came to me and said they needed a place to practice,” Wood said.
Wood allowed them to use space at the library, and the group started practicing there once a week.
“While watching them, I thought, wow they are very good,” she said.
Recently, Wood approached the group and asked if they were interested in performing at the library for Lunar New Year. The group agreed, then started working with a music and dance instructor to create their own choreography. The group also designed their own costumes.
“I’m very impressed because they did a rehearsal last week and it was great,” Wood said. “These are grandmas and mother-in-laws who go to the senior center and associate and talk, and now they’re going to perform. They feel a sense of achievement.”
She hopes this performance can be the first of an annual event that celebrates Lunar New Year at the library, especially with the growing Asian population in the area.
“In the past we’ve had Lunar New Year events, but not every year,” she explained, adding that the library’s “Central Program Service Department will give me programming, but they typically don’t concentrate on the Forest Hills branch because Forest Hills doesn’t have a high Chinese population, such as Flushing or Bayside.”
The Forest Hills Asian Association will also be tabling at the event. The group has partnered previously with the library to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the past.
"They provide the community with such a vital community space and their programs bring the community together and they are great partners," said Edwin Wong, FHAA president. "We help increase awareness for some of their programs so more of the community are aware such as this one."
Wood’s already seen interest for Saturday’s event from people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The library is for the community, people come here to socialize and to broaden their view of the community,” Wood said. “We hope everybody comes to enjoy the program and to use the library.”