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Pacific Symphony Celebrated Year Of The Rat With Special Performance

Pacific Symphony welcomed the Year of the Rat with a Lunar New Year performance at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa on Jan. 25. The performance consisted of dancers in traditional attire, excerpts from popular operas and original pieces performed by vocal and instrumental soloists.

The event included a fully catered, black tie dinner honoring its donors. It included a speech on the history of the Lunar New Year Festival and a preview performance that involved a group of fan dancers in traditional costume.

Dancers of all ages from the YaYa Dance Company and the Chinese Dance Company of Southern California performed traditional dances. The Pacific Chorale also performed behind notable violinist Dennis Kim, seventh grade flautist Emma He, and the Chinese two-stringed fiddle jinghu player Shunxiang Zhang.

“Performing in the Lunar New Year concert is quite an honor,” Pacific Chorale’s soprano soloist Chelsea Chaves said after her performance of the traditional Korean folk song “Do La Ji.” “Being a part of bringing together the Asian American community and cultures is both eye opening and life changing.”

Notable soloists Ding Ping and Nicholas Preston performed the classic song “Brindisi” from the opera “La Traviata.

Pacific Symphony veteran Ronald Banks emceed throughout the night. He told humorous anecdotes and history of the Lunar New Year between performances. 

Pacific Choraleand the American Feel Young Chorus closed the event with a performance of “America The Beautiful.”

The festivities will continue in February with the Fifth Annual Lantern Festival. It will be held at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Feb. 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m..

The festival will spread throughout the concert hall and the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. It will feature pan-Asian culture, music and arts, including performances from local music and dance groups.

The event is a free, family-friendly celebration of the new year. Activities include lantern making, Vietnamese woodblock art and Chinese knotting. The festival will culminate in a traditional Dragon Dance performed by the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center.

Ian Michael Anzlowar is a City News Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. He can be reached at