United in Celebration: Richmond and Qingdao Commemorate 15 years as Sister Cities with a Vibrant New Year Performance

In 2023, Richmond and Qingdao marked a significant milestone as they celebrated the 15th anniversary of their friendship city status. Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, the economic and cultural ties between these two cities endured. The year 2023 witnessed a revival of their interactions, leading to the initiation of a monthly cultural exchange event starting in August. These events aimed to highlight the distinctive charm of the sister cities through various perspectives and themes.

On December 4, 2023, the Richmond Performance Hall in Canada played host to the 2024 New Year’s Eve celebration, the fifth in a series of cultural activities commemorating the 15th anniversary of the sister cities, Richmond and Qingdao.

Aaron Han, the Executive President of the Shandong Business Association and one of the event’s initiators, delivered the opening speech. He reflected on the 15 years of friendly exchanges between the two cities, emphasizing significant improvements in economic trade and cultural communication. Han then provided insights into the characteristics of both cities, their historical interactions, and the diverse themes of the celebratory activities. 

Richmond City Councillor Alexa Loo expressed her full appreciation for the fifteen years of friendly cooperation between the two cities during her address. She extended holiday wishes to the Chinese community and various ethnic groups in Richmond. 

Yuan Wei, the BC United Party candidate for Richmond Central, introduced herself, highlighting her long-standing residency in Richmond and active participation in community development. She extended warm congratulations on the fifteenth anniversary celebration of the friendship between Richmond and Qingdao. 

Alice Wong, Richmond School Board Trustee, shared her participation in the celebration ceremony when the friendship city relationship between Qingdao and Richmond was established. Witnessing the fifteen years of friendly cooperation and exchanges, she expressed heartfelt joy and cheers for the development of both cities.

Secretary-General Li Peng of the Shandong Business Association expressed gratitude for everyone’s presence, reminiscing about his wonderful memories in Qingdao, including enjoying beer and seafood. He noted that the friendly cooperation between the two cities has further strengthened their connections in various aspects.

Mark Wiens, a renowned host from Vancouver, hosted the evening celebration and the friendly city event.

The event saw the participation of Mr. George Doner, Ms. Karin, Mr. Wang Haitao, a director of the Shandong Business Association, Mr. Wu Qitai, a member, and numerous friends from Qingdao, Shandong, and other ethnicities.

The cultural performances were truly remarkable, showcasing a diverse array of talents. The Golden Maple Model Team presented a stunning runway show titled “New Year’s Eve.” Zhang Boyang enchanted the audience with a mesmerizing zither performance of “Autumn Thoughts at Dongting Lake.” Li Feng delivered a captivating rendition of a segment from the Shandong Lv Opera, “Li Er Sao’s Remarriage of Six Brothers.” The Qingquan Band treated the audience to classic tunes like “Jasmine Flower” and “Happy Goat.” Fu Changjun’s soulful voice resonated as he sang “In That Distant Place.” Huang Weihua graced the stage with a breathtaking solo dance titled “Rain Lane Beauty.” A female choir delivered enchanting performances of “Red Plum Blossoms” and “The Textile Girl.” Li Fusheng took the spotlight with a powerful solo, “Hulunbuir Prairie.” The girls’ choir added to the beauty of the evening with renditions of “A Thousand Mountains and Rivers Are Always Love” and “Weishan Lake.” Fang Cheng and Han Ying joined forces in a beautiful duet titled “Sing Again, Honghu Lake.” The Zhang Haiyan Dance Troupe mesmerized the audience with an expressive dance performance. Liu Xiangzhen gracefully presented a model walk titled “Women are Like Flowers.” The evening also featured renditions of “Today is a Good Day” and “Beside the Water,” led by Hui Ge, and an original poem titled “Poem for the New Year,” which was eloquently recited by Aaron and Tracy. The performances were presented in both Chinese and English, with Mark delivering the English recitation.

The New Year’s Eve event concluded with joyous laughter and song, symbolizing a hopeful beginning for the new year. As the poem suggests, let us write beautiful verses, step firmly, and stride toward the distance. Amidst vibrant flowers and exquisite wine, we raise our glasses in celebration of the enduring friendship between Qingdao and Richmond, wishing for everlasting camaraderie and a wonderful life for the people in both cities. Happy New Year to everyone, may all your endeavors be successful and bring joy! 

  • Organizer: Canada Shandong Chinese Business Association, Canada Youth Union Foundation, and Canada Performance and Recitation Arts Societ
  • Co-Organizer:    Vancouver Red Leaf Art Troupe and 
  • Support: Canadian Youth Union Foundation
  • Photos by Yujie Ma and Shaopu Tong
  • Manuscript Review by Aaron
  • English translation by Snow

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