Benefit concert supports needy schools

Updated: 2015-04-21 15:02

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Look up from your own world, in the valley far away, there is land of dreams … Let dreams burgeon in youth. Let's build the land of our dreams.

With the theme song Give Them a Chance to Dream, composed by two Chinese-American teenagers, a charity concert started on April 18 in Cupertino, California, with the aim of raising money for poverty-stricken schools in rural China.

The concert, Dream Youth, was organized by a charity group called Shin Shin Youth, made up of more than 30 children in the San Francisco Bay Area, mostly children of the volunteers of the Shin Shin Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting rural education in China.

More than 100 performers, including the Shin Shin Youth Choir, Silicon Valley Youth Orchestra and Zhi Yin Singers, a well-known local choir, sang chorus, duets and acappella. There also was folk dancing and traditional Chinese music.

The concert, which attracted an audience of more than 400, was expected to raise more than $50,000, according to Steve Ting, foundation president.

"Our funds mainly come from private donations,"he said. "Now we have thousands of supporters in the Bay Area. Some of them donated their lifetime savings to support the elementary schools in Chinese rural villages."

Founded in 1997 by a group of Chinese Americans, the foundation has donated more than $10 million to rural education and established 338 elementary schools in 25 provinces and regions in China.

"To pass along this great cause, we recruited the children in February to set up a youth group,"Ting said. "Since most of them have music talent, they decided to put on a concert as the first step."

To prepare for the performance, the choir practiced every weekend for two months.

"Music is my passion,"said Eric Liu, a college student majoring in choral education who helped train the students. "I'd love to spread music and love to more children."

"I read many reports about disasters and poverty,"said Liu, who was involved in charity activities before joining Shin Shin. "I think we young people can do something to help. He said he was happy to invest time and energy as a volunteer because he saw more parents send their children to the group."

Avril Brown, a 9-year-old member of the Shin Shin Youth Group, said she knew the money raised from the concert would go to needy children in China.

"My mom told me there are many homeless kids in China,"said Brown. "Because I love singing, I hope we can help them have homes,"she said.

The foundation was considering taking the children to visit the rural schools in China, according to Qing Bai, educational director of the foundation.

"Even if they can't make it to China now, they still can contribute their bit,"she said. "The students can make use of their music talent and computer skills to produce music-teaching videos for those poor Chinese students."

Liu said the group plans to recruit more children. The choir also plans to perform at senior centers.