Melyssa Liang: performer who also performs public service
Melyssa Liang believes in the power of charity, and that giving love and services to others in need will bring positive energy to the world and human relationships.
The 17-year-old immigrant from China recently held a benefit concert — Voice of Passion, Melyssa Liang’s Recital — in Vancouver, raising C$5,400 ($4,100) for the British Columbia Children Hospital Foundation.
Liang’s musical talent and love for participating in public events were recognized at a young age. In 2008, She represented China in a 12-day cultural exchange to the United States, and in the same year she was selected as one of 12 children to sing in the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics Games.
In 2009, Liang and her family arrived in Canada from China. Encountering a new culture didn’t stop her from becoming involved in performing arts events.
From 2010 to 2015, she participated and won numerous awards in local competition and festivals of music, speech and drama and performing arts.
“These cultural activities and events helped me to regain my confidence in the new country,” Liang told China Daily, “I learned my English at the speech and drama club, and found interests in Shakespeare literature.”
In 2013, Liang represented Canada in the Chinese Culture Contest for Overseas Chinese Teenagers in Beijing. Her performance of a Chinese folk dance won her first place in the talent category.
The return to China inspired Liang to do more for her home country. In the spring of 2014, Liang and fellow youths attended the twoweek outreach program at the Xi’an Children Welfare Hospital in China, organized by the Canadian Youth Leadership Training Centre.
“I was so excited about the trip and the opportunity to volunteer for these young orphanages in China,” said Liang. “But to be honest, I was also kind of scared and uncertain of what to expect from these homeless children.”
Liang was assigned two children, about 4 to 5 years old. She ate and played with them, and taught them English every day.
“They were positive and happy children,” said Liang. “They became very attached to me after a few days, and they would get very anxious if I am not around them.”
“It was sad to see how they long for eternal love and companionship, but these children still stay positive with limited resources such as eating simple foods and living in empty rooms with just beds,” she said. “They made me realize how lucky I am, and how I should do more for less fortunate children.”
With the inspiration from helping children in need, and the encouragement of her vocal teacher, Liang held her first benefit — Melyssa Liang’s Benefit Recital Concert — to raise funds for the BC Children Hospital Foundation at the UBC Frederic Wood Theatre on June 25. All proceeds from the concert went to build an extended surgical and health center for children with cancer or other serious illnesses.
Liang sang and danced in 16 programs, and she performed with special guests and some of her friends from dance class.
“It was an honor to sing I Love You, China with special guest tenor Paul Just, who has great love for the Chinese culture. He has performed numerous times in China, and participated in the TV show Star Road on CCTV,” Liang told China Daily.
“The concert was a great success,” said Liang. She said the money raised wasn’t a large sum, “but I hope my effort and love can help to improve the lives of these sick children.”
In addition to performing, Liang helped on preparation for the benefit, from stage design to ticketing and promotion.
“I think it’s more meaningful to be a part of everything of my first public fundraising event,” said Liang. “I’ve learned so much during the process of organizing the concert, too.”
Because of her achievements and dedication to volunteer work, she was awarded the bronze award of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in 2014 and the silver award in 2015.
Founded in 1956 in the UK by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the award is given to millions of 14 to 24-year-olds who strive to be the very best they can be, and recognizes exceptional achievement in such areas as community service, physical fitness and special skills.
A senior at Elgin Park Secondary School, Liang said she still tries to find a healthy balance between her studies and passion for performing.
“My parents taught me to be a well-rounded person,” said Liang. ‘It is important to do well in both school and extra-curriculum activities. For me, dance and music relax me from school stress.”
Melyssa Liang plays with some young orphans at the Xi’an Children Welfare Hospital in China in 2014.
Born: Hainan, China
Education: Elgin Park Secondary School
CDMF Speech and Drama – Shakespeare Monologue, First Place & Gold (2015)
Surrey Festival of DanceSolo division, First Place (2015)
Kiwanis Fraser Valley Speech & Drama – Shakespeare Monologue, Silver (2015)
Kiwanis Fraser Valley Speech & Drama – Poem, Silver (2015) Pacific West Performing Arts Festival – Solo, First Place (2014)
Kiwanis Fraser Valley Speech & Drama – Sonnet, Gold Award (2014)
Surrey Festival of Dance – Chinese Dance Solo, First Place (2013)
Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival- Guzheng, First Place (2013)
Pacific West Performing Arts Festival – Solo, First Place (2012)
Chinese Performing Art Society Of Canada, Most Outstanding Award (2011) Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival- Guzheng, First Place (2010)