Spring Festival gala in San Francisco

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An oft-heard Chinese pop hit song of "Go Home Often" sung by a Chinese singer who is the only Chinese star that ever sung for former U.S. President Barack Obama aroused profound emotions of nostalgia among an audience of some 2,000 overseas Chinese at a performance here on Saturday.

Seconds after Cai Guoqing, the long-standing Chinese singer finished the last word of the pop hit, the audience that packed the Flint Center for Performing Arts in Cupertino, south of San Francisco, gave him rounds of rousing applause.

Almost the entire audience could resonate with the lyrics of the song which expresses the aspiration of parents expecting the return of their children who left their hometown to work.

The audience was overwhelmed with laughters and joyful cries by the Spring Festival gala presented by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of China's State Council on a global tour that marked the 2018 Chinese Lunar New Year of the Dog.

The event, entitled "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring," offered overseas Chinese in the Bay Area a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment that included Beijing Opera, classical dances, Chinese and Western pop hits, violin performance, and a modern rendition of a famous Chinese piano piece -- "Chorus of the Yellow River."

Frances Chu, a retired engineer who once worked for the U.S. Defense Department, said she learned of the event just one day after she returned from a home visit to Shanghai in eastern China.

"I came to the performing center this afternoon, two hours earlier, to get the last few tickets of Saturday's show, and I won't miss it," she said.

"I've lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, but I'm often homesick for China and I love Chinese culture," she told Xinhua, standing patiently in a long queue waiting for her turn to get into the auditorium.

Great changes have taken place in China in recent years, and many overseas Chinese still cherish a special feeling for China, though "we've lived outside our home country for many decades," she said.

Another party-goer, who called himself Charlie and worked as a computer engineer at a hi-tech company in the Silicon Valley, said nothing can serve as a bridge of exchanges better than culture.

"No matter how long we live in the U.S., or what nationality we may have, we after all came from China," he said.

"Tonight's show is a perfect opportunity for my kid to know better about Chinese culture," he added.

"He is now on the stage, a player of the flute," he explained, noting that his 10th-grader child is one of the members of the San Francisco Silicon Valley Youth Symphony Troupe, which played a well-known jubilant Chinese music piece in the warm-up show to the two-hour long Spring Festival gala.

Jenny Huang, director of the troupe, said that the majority of the troupe's members are children of overseas Chinese, from seventh grade to 12th grade, who have great enthusiasm to sacrifice their spare time to serve community as volunteers, mainly raising funds for the disabled children with impaired hearing or vision ability.

Their parents would like them to learn Chinese culture through participation in performances like Saturday's gala show, she said.

Before the start of the performance, Zhang Yongwen, head of the Chinese artist delegation, said his delegation, which left China on the first day of the Chinese Spring Festival on Feb. 16, has toured several U.S. cities such as Houston and Orlando, and received warm welcome from overseas Chinese communities in various places.

"Our performance tour has achieved anticipated results with perfect shows, and we may present more customized contents for local overseas Chinese communities in our future performance," he said.

Shi Zhongqi, deputy director of the San Francisco Huaxing Art Group, which organized the performance, said after the show that the audience has "felt the warmth from the motherland."

The "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring" program, which has been organized for 26 consecutive years by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, is a great success that underlines both the support of overseas Chinese and the commitment of the artists from the motherland, he said.

"The program reflects both the love of overseas Chinese for their home country and greetings and care from the government back in China," Shi noted. 

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