ACAN hosts a Winter Gala as a yearly fundraising event to promote its mission of serving the community and fostering our heritage. This year, the Winter Gala was more challenging to host due to COVID-19 and the global pandemic, however, this did not stop us from hosting a spectacular concert.
On December 19th, 2020, ACAN successfully hosted an online concert and raised $6,000 to support the charity organization, Asian Family Support Services of Austin. The concert’s theme was “In CommUnity we stand” and featured 60 impressive performances and nearly 100 talented artists from elementary school students to adults. This three-hour-long concert can be viewed online.
We, Gloria & Tiffany, from the ACAN Youth Communication Team, interviewed two of the key leaders of the Gala, Michelle Bao and Wilson Wu. Ms. Bao is the Vice President at ACAN, and the Chair of the Art Committee, responsible for the overall gala performance. Wilson is a talented young artist and a senior student at Summit Christian Academy, responsible for the video production and online streaming, in addition to his own performance. Michelle and Wilson collaborated in May to produce a successful ACAN Youth Online Fundraising Concert and donated $5,000 to Central Texas Food Bank.
Q: How important is the Winter Gala to ACAN?
A: Ms. Bao stated that because ACAN is a non-profit organization that preserves the Asian culture/heritage and that Christmas is an important holiday, the Winter Gala is highly necessary.
She continued, in the past, ACAN had already hosted two Christmas galas, of course, in person, and they would not let the pandemic take this yearly tradition away. Thus, the hosts of the Winter Gala strived to make the Gala a success once again.
Q: What did you do to prepare for the gala?
A: According to Ms. Bao, the planning for the Winter Gala started in October. In the first two weeks, “no one submitted anything”, but towards the last weekend videos were “flooding in”. Now with more than 60 submissions, it was truly impressive because the deadline was a week before finals for many students. Unfortunately due to the limited show time and amount of submissions, some of the acts had to be cut off. However, Ms. Bao wanted “justice for every submission”, deciding to merge the other acts into a highlights section. Shortened versions of the videos were shown, making the gala even more inclusive and diverse.
Q: Were there any hardships/obstacles that you had to overcome? If so, how did you overcome them?
A: Both Ms. Bao and Wilson stated that copyright concern was a big challenge. Before the actual show, the team had to test the livestream to see which acts might be blocked by YouTube. Aside from legal concerns, the week before the gala was the busiest and most stressful week – a.k.a. finals week. However, the MCs pushed through, overcoming the hardships and shortcomings, turning the Gala into an undeniable success.
We want to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Bao, Wilson, all the performers, MCs, organizers, sponsors, and donors for their tireless efforts to produce such a high quality and engaging program to close out this remarkable year in hopes of a much better future for our communities. We are confident that 2021 is going to be an amazing year, filled with kindness and hope. In CommUnity we stand!
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