Melyssa Liang: per­former who also per­forms pub­lic ser­vice

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By JUS­TINE HUANG in Van­cou­ver For Chian Daily

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.”

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Melyssa Liang plays with some young or­phans at the Xi’an Chil­dren Wel­fare Hospi­tal in China in 2014.

MELYSSA LIANG

Age: 17

Born: Hainan, China

Ed­u­ca­tion: El­gin Park Sec­ondary School

Awards:

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)

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