Written by the Class of 2023
Photos and Film by Alysha Seng (Class of 2028), Erica Lai (Class of 2024), and Amy Liu (Class of 2023)
Video by Erica Lai and Serene Chin (Class of 2023)
On October 29, 2022, after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, IGDVS was excited to once again hold the annual Honoring Elders Day celebration in person. Precautions, such as masking, cohorting, and keeping the event outdoors, ensured the safety of all the guests.
As guests settled in under comfortable tents, and patio heaters warmed the crisp autumn morning, four seniors performed ambient solo pieces to set the mood before the official program began. Hillary Tran evoked “Spring and Summer” on the pipa, Amy Liu brought nostalgia with “Remembrance” on the dizi, Alice Sandel mesmerized the audience with “The Little Fountain” on the harp, and Phoenix Vo hinted at good things to come with a rendition of the Spirited Away theme song on the piano.
The event opened with an invocation on this year’s theme— Equanimity: The Eye of the Storm. Likening global turmoil and negativity to a storm, this theme suggested tranquility and peace even in the midst of instability, the same way it is calm in the eye of a hurricane. With this message, the event was held with the intention of invoking the joyous spirit of peace and compassion.
To start off the performances, the kindergarten to third grade students performed a cheerful Chinese song, “Listen to Me–Thank you.” They touched everyone in the audience with their youthful energy and engaging performance. The song encompassed not only their appreciation for the elders — for what they have given to the community — but also their sincere love for the community and the world.
In honor of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, three students from the elementary school performed a traditional Indian prayer dance for Lord Ganesha. Their smiles and expressive dance moves conveyed the light of wisdom and understanding that the Hindu god embodies.
Next, esteemed guest and President of Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Dr. Susan Rounds, honored this celebration of elders with some words of wisdom. She spoke of balance, equanimity, and compassion, highlighting the need to stay tranquil in these tough times.
After the inspirational speech, the High School Band performed a ‘70s classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Harking back to the seventies, the school band brought the glory, the passing, and the nostalgia of the times to the scene.
Up next, the Taiko Drumming team performed an impressive sequence, illustrating the strength and power of unity. Then, the Chinese Orchestra brought three meaningful pieces. Beginning with a tranquil “Om Mani Padme Hum,” they increased the excitement with an upbeat “Fengyang Flower Drum” and ended with a moving performance of “Resilience.”
Invoking the schools’ eight core virtues, the third to sixth grade students recited the Standards for Students, incorporating creative hand motions and formations to engage the audience. Next, the IGDVS-DRBU choir sang a contemplative “Guan Yin Praise,” accompanied by a bansuri and tongue drum.
After a cheerful rendition of “Singing and Smiling” by the junior high students, two Chinese Orchestra pieces, “Xinjiang Folk Song” and “Prairie Night,” were performed, dazzling the audience with its diversity of instruments.
Before the last three performances, there was a brief mindfulness activity led by the senior class, in which “Om Mani Padme Hum,” the Six Character Great Bright Mantra, was introduced. After the meaning behind each of the characters was explained, everyone recited along to this healing mantra.
After sharing the moment of peace and sacredness, the spectacular Lion Dance team performed to the powerful beat of a drum and the clash of cymbals. Cheers were heard as the lion duo completed exciting tricks and jumps.
Next came the Chinese Dance group with their elegant performance to the song “Cai Wei” from the Book of Poetry. Their graceful umbrella dance creatively incorporated elements of Guan Yin’s thousand hands and eyes, symbolizing the Bodhisattva’s compassion and kindness.
The final performance was the spirited Dragon Dance, which awed the audience with its incredible formations and stunts. The routine ended with a heart symbol, closing the program with a reminder to spread love and joy.
Special thanks to those who helped organize, prepare, and make this event possible. We are grateful for everyone who performed and attended, and we hope the celebration warmed your heart. Happy Honoring Elders Day!