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By Gerrye Wong   February 5, 2015

Every year when Chinese New Year time rolls around, a much anticipated event for San Franciscans is the San Francisco Symphony’s Annual Lunar Year celebration in Davies Symphony Hall.  Drums will roll and lions will dance on February 21, Saturday when there will be a gala Festival Reception for all ticket holders starting at 2pm.  The pre-concert activities are almost as much fun as the concert itself with family-friendly entertainment, children’s arts and crafts, lion dancing, Chinese calligraphy and complimentary food, desserts and tea bars.
The 3pm concert following celebrates the Year of the Ram this year by featuring a combination of traditional Asian music alongside orchestral works influenced by both Eastern and Western musical traditions.  The program has something for all ages, and all tastes.
Excitement will reign with the opening popular Chinese Dragon Dance led by Guest conductor Mei-Ann Chen. Celebrated composers music to be heard include Li HUanzhi’s “Spring Festival Overture”, Bright Sheng’s “Black Swan”, Vivian Fung’s “Pizzicato for String Quartet, followed by traditional folk songs.  Always popular is the audience sing-along of Gong Xi Gong Xi with loud voices joining in the popular song.  Audience members will get to hear the talents of Chinese zither player Su Chang who will delight the audience when introducing this new instrument to western ears.
Following the concert will be a glorious event enjoyed by over 500 of the Symphony’s loyal patrons and Chinese community leaders. City Hall central rotunda hall will be decorated inspired by the rich visual pageantry of traditional Chinese new year celebrations. Dinner packages include access to the Festival reception, premiere concert seating and the Imperial dinner and can be purchased separately with total proceeds benefitting the Orchestra’s myriad community outreach and education programs for more than 75,000 Bay Area school children annually.   Heading this popular event for the Greater Bay Area arts patrons who enjoy the Chinese New Year celebration time is Iris Chan, assisted by Imperial Dinner Chair An Chen. Honorary Chairs are David and Sharon Seto, who have been leaders of this annual event since its inception.  Kudos must go to Festival Co-Chairs who provide all of the festive activities, Valerie Bantner Peo and Kathryn Pellegrini Inglin.
Celebrate with your family and friends to bring in the new year February 21 at Davies Hall.  Tickets are available through sfsymphony.org; prices : $30-$74.
Dinner packages including Festival Reception, premiere concert seating, and the Imperial Dinner in City Hall are $375-$1000 and available through the SF Symphony website or calling Volunteer Council 415 503 5500.    Let’s bring in the new year in true Chinese style – with arts, crafts, music and food!!
When a restaurant can brag of being in business for 45 years and still having waiting lines desiring its food, one should celebrate.  And that’s what Lawrence Chu and his loyal staff did to commemorate the Chef Chu’s restaurant’s 45th Anniversary.  Lion dances and loyal patrons flooded to celebrate with the Chu Family of having grown from a tiny take out noodle restaurant to the popular in spot for Los Altos diners today.  From Chef Lawrence, who charms all his customers with his knowledge of China’s innovative and regional cuisines during his annual month of Chinese New Year special banquets, to his young son Larry Jr., the congenial host who is adept at remembering customers names and favorite seating choices, there is a family feeling to the restaurant that everyone is a friend who is enjoying fine food and wines with old compatriots.
Always supportive of community causes, Lawrence combined a celebration of his 45th with the Chi Am Circle’s 50th anniversary this year by partnering with them on a grand deluxe banquet feast on January 31.  In true philanthropic spirit, Lawrence hosted and provided his famed special New Years dinner for 100 diners who gladly made a $250 donation to the Chi Am Circle Service Scholarship Fund for the privilege of being one of his guests.   Receiving many grateful thank yous were the ten Table Captains who recruited the happy patrons to enjoy Chef Chu’s hosted dinner.  Captains  were Emily Lo, Muriel Kao, Mabel Lai, Jason Ting, Pearl Lee, Zeny Seid, Diana Chan,  Sylvia Eng, Lisa Liu and Gerrye Wong.  The event will benefit the Chi Am Circle Community Service Fund, announced President Sylvia Eng followed by Pearl Lee who chronicled the 50 year old history of this Asian American womens club and told of its many community needs it has served during the club’s long tenure as a volunteer non-profit organization.  Chef Lawrence Chu further lauded the Chi Am women for their services to the community, urging everyone to come and support its 50th anniversary celebration benefit fashion show March 21.  
Lawrence himself will be on stage at this San Jose Fairmont Hotel lunch, “Golden Legacy” as he is being recognized for his community service and  business leadership that day along with Saratoga Councilwoman Emily Lo, Netgear CEO Patrick Lo, and Ascend  President Anna Mok.   He warmly greeted faithful patrons Eppie Lam, Vera Koo, Hasting and Josephine Wong, Melissa and Tony Yau, Jeff and Susan Lee, Helen and Benson Kwan and Otto and Sally Lee among others.
 Congratulations to both the Chi Am Circle for its 50th years of comradeship and community involvement by its members and bouquets to  Chef Chu’s of Los Altos for its 45 years of providing unique Chinese cuisine to Silicon Valley patrons.
For information for tickets to Chi Am Circle’s 50th Anniversary fashion show, www.chiamcircle.org.

Recently Diana Ding  brought to her world wide web of viewers a group of Chi Am Circle members who spoke about the club’s upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration, “Golden Legacy” fashion show.  Speaking to her Chinese language audience were panel members Emily Lo, Jenny Leung and Mabel Lai.  Being interviewed in English by Diana Ding were panelists Paulette Curby, Gerrye Wong and Sylvia Eng.
The Chi Am Circle speakers related that this Asian American women’s organization of Silicon Valley has been a community service oriented organization for five decades and this 50th year celebration is a culmination of a year-long dedicated effort to raise funds to continue its fine work with student scholarship grants presented annually.  At its upcoming March 21 fashion show benefit lunch, over 50 community leader models will be showcasing fashion attire from Bloomingdales Stanford, Stuarts Apparel of Los Altos, Kristi Yamaguchi’s Tsu-ya sportswear and Dottie Doolittle Childrens Store.
DingDing TV is Silicon Valley’s Innovation Channel which is seen all over the world  and recently celebrated its 5th year of operation with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA.   It has an audience of over 50 million people on DingDing.TV, ifeng.com, Sina.com, Youtube, Facebook, LinkIn, Livestream and more.  In addition it will bring this panel interview  to a six million person audience through TV channels, Comcast 172, DTV 38.2, 38.3, KMVT, Comcast 90, KTSF 26, 24/7 Mobile Channel.     For more info: www.DingDingTV.com
The 25th anniversary Cinequest Film Festival – Silicon Valley, will present 91 World and U.S. film premieres, a stellar lineup of film artists and technology innovators, Maverick Spirit Award events with renowned actor Rosario Dawson and directing legend John Boorman, plus a new Future of Film Showcase.
 Cinequest Film Festival 25 (CQFF25) occurs February 24 – March 8th, 2015. Highlights will include:
• Opening Night Screening and Celebration: February 24, 7:15 p.m., California Theatre: Cinequest Film Festival begins its 25th anniversary celebration with an electric combination of standout cinema and first-rate guests. CQFF25 opens at the majestic California Theatre, with Batkid Begins, director Dana Nachman’s powerful documentary, chronicling the amazing response to a young cancer patient’s desire to be the super hero for just one day, who “saves” San Francisco. Nachman’s stirring film details the undaunted spirit of Batkid Miles Scott, as the City by the Bay rallies around his “quest,” and captures the astounding social media reaction to Miles’s wish that exploded around the worldPost-screening festivities and fun will take place at the Farmers Union. 

San Francisco Symphony New Years Festival concert will feature pre-concert  fun Feb. 21.

Childrens arts and crafts tables will be offered at SFS Chinese Lunar Year festival February 21

Chef Lawrence Chu welcomes 10 Table Captains to his Benefit Dinner celebrating Chi Am Circle’s 50th anniversary and his restaurant’s 45th anniversary

Chef Lawrence and Ruth Chu were presented orchid gifts  from Chi Am Circle in appreciation for his hosted dinner for 10 tables with proceeds going to Chi Am Circle’s Service Scholarship Fund

Chi Am Circle Dinner Committee members thank  Larence Chu for his supreme banquet dinner in commemoration of Chi Am Circle’s 50th anniversary. L. to r.  Eva Wong, Gerrye Wong,  Sylvia Eng, Lawrence Chu, Pearl Lee, Maria Lu. 

Happy diners at the Patrick and Emily Lo table of Chef Chu’s  benefit dinner feasted on the special banquet fare  to celebrate Chef Chu Restaurant’s anniversary.

Diana Ding, seated far right, features Chi Am Circle member panelists and coordinators to her Santa Clara station to discuss the group’s fundraising causes. L to r standing Muriel Kao, Mabel Lai, Emily Lo, Susan Lee,  Beverly Harada, Jennie Leung; Seated Paulette Curby, Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Eng
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