Dallas International School
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Normally, it’s pretty hard to get a cafeteria stuffed with middle and high school students to quiet down.


But when a group of DIS 6th graders took the stage to perform the opening musical piece of a special Chinese New Year performance, the entire room grew silent. The first notes of “Song of the Swan,” a peaceful and quiet number, floated out timidly, then with more force.


Directed by DIS Chinese teacher Mei Hong Wu and accompanied by fellow teacher Michael Li on violin, students from 6th-10th grade performed a variety of musical numbers amid a red and gold-bedecked stage to celebrate the passing of the Chinese New Year. They had practiced their parts for long hours, and the hard work shone through as the student performers smiled at each other on stage and grew more confident with each successful showcase.


After the 6th graders finished their second song, “Ode to Smiles,” a body of 7th graders hopped onstage to perform “Legend,” a triumphant and rousing number. It is one of the more famous love songs in the Chinese language, and caused everyone in the cafeteria to wave their arms back and forth.


A smaller group of 8th graders followed by singing “The Olive Tree.” While their group was lesser in number, the sound was just as strong as they sang a thoughtful tune that evoked images of the Chinese countryside.


The final musical number was performed by a few 9th graders who ramped up the fun in the cafeteria by leading everyone in a few popular songs, complete with Chinese lyrics. Everyone was on their feet and having a good time as the crowning event began to set up in front of the stage.


The 10th graders brought down the house with a hilarious puppet show that told the old Chinese tale of a monkey king and a monk accompanying each other on a trek across the country. The cultural celebration wrapped up with a game of Chinese history trivia, with students guessing answers to win New Year trinkets in beautiful red and gold bags.


The celebration was not just for fun, but functioned as a showcase of Chinese history and culture. The students filed out of the cafeteria to return to class, chatting and laughing about the afternoon’s events.


Some of them were even still singing. 

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