Local Asian community celebrated 2021 Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival via Cloud Lantern Festival Gala

Lantern Festival gala participants
Lantern Festival gala participants

San Diego AmeriCal Youth Orchestra, a nonprofit organization established in 2017, aims to provide a platform for young, passionate musicians from local middle and high schools to rehearse and perform classical pieces for the local community and at other special events. Prior to the pandemic, the orchestra had been proactively engaged in local charity events such as the Encinitas Ballet gala and the Veterans Concert.

However, COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to the orchestra’s regular rehearsal. Determined to continue past traditions, Dr. Sheng Yang and Ping Ma, with the help of volunteers and student leaders, began utilizing online meeting platforms and technologies to host virtual practice and rehearsal sessions.

The Lantern Festival gala was conducted by Yang and opened with Brahms’s symphony “Hungarian Dance No. 5”, followed by a performance of the band members’ newly rehearsed “Moldau”, interleaved with an intermission musical performance by several orchestra members, and concluded the symphony with “Tarim Capriccio” and the melody of John Strauss’s popular symphony “ Radetzky March”.

One highlight of the performance occurred when CCA senior Carrie Su presented a farewell and thank-you ceremony for the eight alumni who graduated from the orchestra in the 2020 class.


Joyce Yang (top center in Senior Students image above left), who served as the orchestra’s associate leader and bassist, received third place at the New York International Musicians Piano Competition and was invited to play the piano at Carnegie Hall.

Richard Chen (top left in Senior Students image above left), the prior first chair violinist, won first place at American Protégé International Music Talent Competition in 2019 and was also invited to perform at Carnegie Hall.

These graduates have also held important leadership positions at the Orchestra Students’ Association and were actively involved in interacting with the local community, demonstrating their dedication to the orchestra. This year’s student association is led by Carrie Su, Sarah Wu, Ethan Chang, Harrison Wang, Connie Jiang, and Max Tao.

For more information the AmeriCal Youth Orchestra go to acyouthsymphony.org