LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Chinese Community Center pulling out all the stops for this year’s 50th anniversary celebration and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Young performers training hard Saturday as they prepare to showcase their talents.

“For the people who wanted to educate their kids in their own language and get together with their own culture, this is home,” says President Wei Qin.

Qin organizing the event and bringing a world-renowned expert, Linghui Tu, to teach these young performers Peking Opera.  

“I like the transformation of my students. I mean the students came over with Peking Opera, they absolutely know nothing,” explains Tu, a professor at Binghamton University’s National Academy of Chinese Theater Arts, while Qin translated. “They would just start from ground zero, but then, surprisingly—with hard time and practice—they learn everything.”

The CCC hopes this traditional retelling of a Chinese legend, “Journey to the West”, will inspire their Capital Region neighbors to learn and appreciate Asian cultures. The hard-working performers say they’re already honored to take on the challenge.

“We’re playing monkeys from Xī Yóu Jì. It’s one of the Chinese ancient stories. We were kind of going around doing monkey stuff and then we were fighting with the heavenly soldiers,” explains Kong Liang, one of the young martial arts performers.

“We’re glad to be a part of tradition and showing off our culture,” says fellow performer Leo Yang

This year’s celebration will be Saturday, May 20 at 1:30pm in Schenectady’s Proctors Theater. NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton will be emceeing the event! Tickets can be found here.

The CCC also holding a silent auction with the goal of funding both the anniversary celebration and a building renovation project.