A Truly Spectacular Evening: the YCIS and YWIES Seeds of Hope Gala
On Saturday 21st April, families, friends, staff and senior leaders from across our Yew Chung and Yew Wah network gathered at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beijing for the Seeds of Hope Gala. Organised by the YCIS Beijing Parent Organisation, it was a unique and magical evening, with performances, raffles, auctions, a three-course meal, wine and contributions from individuals across the YCIS and YWIES family.
The Gala had two important purposes: to raise money for our Seeds of Hope project to build a much-needed secondary school in Manila, and to celebrate our landmark Yew Chung Education Foundation’s 85th Anniversary. Children and teachers from the school in Manila attended the Gala to give warm and heartfelt thanks on stage, and our CEO and Supervisor, Dr Betty Chan Po-King, gave a poignant address outlining the commitment, over many years, that the Foundation has made to planting seeds of hope in the hearts and minds of children in need. “Her words were a thought-provoking testament to the rich sense of conviction and generosity that defines our broader YCEF community”, commented Mr Noel Thomas, Co-Principal at YCIS Beijing.
The evening was a glamorous affair. Our guests were dressed in spectacular black tie for The Night at the Opera. Upon arriving, they were greeted with cocktails, a professional photoshoot, a gallery of original artworks up for auction, props for a masquerade, and representatives from our generous sponsors. The grand ballroom was stunningly decorated with table dressings, banners and flower displays, all under the glow of a spectacular light display.
There was an outstanding programme of performances throughout the evening, given by students from across the YCEF network. Prior to the event, each school was invited to send a video audition. Daniel Pearton, Head of the Arts at YCIS Beijing, and San Yuen Yum and Jeremy Williams, Foundation Music Directors, selected the very best of these performances to entertain guests for the night. Over 125 students performed on the evening itself – soloists and groups, singing, dancing and playing instruments – demonstrating a remarkable array of talent of an extremely high standard.
Performances were broken up by the dinner courses. Guests were treated to the very best of the Four Seasons Hotel’s catering – wild mushrooms, truffles, beef tenderloin, pan fried seabass, orange cheesecake and hazelnut Chantilly all peppered the menu. During the mealtimes, the auctions took place. Guests bid on outstanding prizes such as a Club Med vacation in Sanya, original works of art by students, parents, staff and professional artists, beauty treatments worth over ￥100,000 and more. The raffle too was an Aladdin’s Cave of prizes – with cooking classes, yoga passes, therapy treatments and hotel breaks all up for grabs. After the final raffle prize was announced, YCIS Beijing’s student band, CHROMA, rocked the Gala to a cool conclusion.
Mr Thomas described the evening as “the perfect mix! – great company; a celebration of performance excellence; a sense of history made and in the making; delicious food and wine; generosity towards a worthy endeavor; a family of schools coming together for a common cause; a stunning environment of lights, sound, screen and glamour; and the culmination of truly remarkable teamwork between a talented and committed Parent Organisation, staff and students. What a night!”
Parents and staff are still counting all the money raised from the Gala and other fundraisers throughout the year. The final total will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.
“It is wonderful to be making a real difference to people’s lives, fundraising for this cause close to our hearts” said Mr Casey Fanning, Character and Moral Education Development Officer at YCIS Beijing. “In June, I’m taking a group of students out to Manila to lend a helping hand with the preliminary stages of construction. I then hope that every year onwards we will be visiting and supporting the school in every way we can. I am so proud to be a part of this project – and this is just the beginning.”
We would like to thank our generous sponsors, those who donated prizes, the parents and staff who helped organise the event, the students who performed and all those who donated to Seeds of Hope on the night. A particularly special thanks to the Parent Organisation at YCIS Beijing – without whom, the event could not have happened.