In 2015, Baltimore City marks the 30-year anniversary of its sister city relationships with Xiamen in China and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Creative Alliance hosted a Chinese and Dutch art exhibition as well as an event to explore these cultures through various art and movement workshops and performances on September 26th.
Xiamen is home to many U.S. companies and, as a port of call for international merchant ships, is the heart of Chinese trade with Baltimore City.
The New Century School elementary students were there to support the Baltimore–Xiamen Sister City Committee by singing two Chinese songs and performing one dance. BXSCC ” . . . has been and continues to be an active sister city creating opportunities in Baltimore City and Xiamen, China for business, education, and cultural exchanges” for the past 30 years. Xiamen is in China’s Fujian Province, along the southeast coast and is a port city like Baltimore.
Education Chair Vida Willis was on hand to express her appreciation for TNCS’s continued participation in BXSCC initiatives. With her customary warmth and graciousness, Ms. Willis presented TNCS with a series of Mayoral Certificates, including students, teachers, staff, administration, and even parents in her commendations.
BXSCC’s Vida Willis even included TNCS parents in her expression of gratitude!
Yangyang Laoshi and Li Laoshi display their official certificates form Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
TNCS students pose with BXSSC’s Vida Willis after their great song and dance performance.
“Miniature shipping containers have arrived in Baltimore from our Sister Cities around the world. Use the crane to remove a container and win a souvenir from our friends overseas.”
Baltimore’s other sister cities include Piraeus, Greece; Kawasaki, Japan; and Alexandria and Luxor, Egypt.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for—the performance!
Zhongshan restaurant, located at 323 Park Ave., once the center of Baltimore’s historic Chinatown
On Sunday, June 1, 2014, The New Century School elementary students were invited to perform three songs in Mandarin Chinese for the 6th Annual Calvin Chin Memorial Dim Sum Brunch at ZhongShan restaurant in downtown Baltimore. Five children had the honor to sing for an audience consisting mostly of members of the Baltimore–Xiamen Sister City Committee (BXSCC), who hosted the brunch. BXSCC Chair, Fontaine Bell, contacted TNCS to extend the invitation. Mr. Bell and colleagues have regularly asked for TNCS performers over the past couple of years at various functions such as Chinese New Year at Port Discovery, and TNCS is always thrilled to accept. On this particular occasion, performers were treated to a delicious dim sum brunch by BXSCC, and their chaperones were treated by TNCS. “This is a great opportunity of networking and culture enrichment,” said Xie Laoshi.
Who is BXSCC?
Map showing Baltimore’s Sister Cities, including Xiamen, China
The BXSCC is an organization dedicated to strengthening and enhancing the relationship between citizens of Baltimore, MD and those of Xiamen, China as well as to embrace Chinese culture here in Baltimore. Their mission is “To promote business, cultural, educational, health/environmental and other cooperation and exchanges between the cities of Baltimore, Maryland, USA and Xiamen, Fujian, People’s Republic of China, and to support Baltimore City’s other activities and programs related to China and the local Chinese community.” This mission aligns very well with TNCS’s own goals, and a fruitful partnership is emerging.
About the Brunch
“Businessman, civil servant, community leader, World War II veteran, advocate, man of the arts, husband, and father . . . Calvin Chin.”
The annual brunch was established in 2010 to honor founding BXSCC member, Calvin Chin, who is credited with rebuilding Baltimore’s historic Chinatown in the second half of the 20th century. Although he was born in Baltimore, his Chinese roots were always paramount, and he devoted his life to promoting local Chinese business and cultural enterprises. This year’s brunch—the final—also honored, Rudolph S. Chow, Director of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, and Katherine M. Chin, Calvin’s wife and another original BXSCC member. “Mr. Chow spoke about his department’s important role and vision for maintaining and improving Baltimore’s physical infrastructure. Mrs. Chin was honored with Certificates of Appreciation from our Governor, Mayor, City Council President, and the Xiamen Mayor’s Office for her 30 years of service to BXSCC and her even longer advocacy for Baltimore’s Chinese-American community,” according to the BXSCC’s write-up of the event.
Chinese goods collected by the BXSSC during many years’ travel between Baltimore and Xiamen were placed up for bid.
In addition to TNCS’s stellar choral performance, the event also featured an amazing kung fu demonstration by the Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi, as well as a silent auction of Asian arts and crafts and a raffle.
Appetizers: Stuffed bean curd skin, steamed shrimp dumpling, steamed pork sao mai, and fried sesame balls. Main Course: Crispy pork, spicy basil tofu with 3-cup sauce, bok choy with Chinese mushrooms, and steamed fish filet with tofu. YUM!!!!!
But before anyone performed, the food took center stage! TNCS students were game for trying anything. it was really gratifying to see such adventurous young palates!
Spicy basil tofu with 3-cup sauce
Bok choy with Chinese mushrooms
Fried sesame balls and steamed pork sao mai
Oranges for dessert—tiándiǎn!
TNCS students and parents ready to tuck in!
Dressed in TNCS colors, the singers did a fantastic job! (And were such a credit to TNCS, by the way!)
Wen Laoshi and her group of singers (minus one, who had to dash).
Arranged by Xie Laoshi and directed and led by Wen Laoshi, TNCS’s choral performance wowed the audience of about 100. With their mastery of Mandarin Chinese and their singing, not to mention their wonderful self-possession and exemplary conduct, TNCS students represented their school beautifully.
First song: 说唱脸谱, “Talking and Singing Types of Facial Makeup in Peking Operas”
Second song: 虫儿飞, “Bugs Flying”
Third song: 蜗牛与黄鹂鸟, “Snail and Yellow Birds”
Wen Laoshi said, “The performance was wonderful! All the children did such a good job, and I’m very happy to see them involved in this.” You can see them perform two of the three songs below!