WORLD> America
Concert held in NY for sympathy for China's quake victims
Updated: 2008-06-29 09:04

NEW YORK - When 13-year-old Sydney Seitz was ready to play the Lament, her piano instructor Tim Mallard cut in and requested all those present to stand up. "Please stand up in this music of mourning, let's show our respect to and grief over those (who) died in Sichuan earthquake."

A special concert was held Thursday evening in the huge drawing room of the real estate businessman Irgor Flikshteyn, who was the host to students, parents and grand-parents from 45 American families with diversified family backgrounds.

"I feel great just because I am doing something great for people whom I don't know," said Sydney in the intermission of the concert.

The kids, aged between 5 and 16, came to the "stage" one after another to give their performances by playing pieces carefully handpicked by their piano and violin instructor Mallard.

"It was a tragedy," said Mallard. "I couldn't stop crying for a while when I learned from the National Public Radio that a young lady lost all her family members in the earthquake."

"So when Helen Jiang, the organizer, talked with me about throwing such a concert, I agreed right away, without any hesitation," he told Xinhua.

Jiang, who is originally from Shanghai, has already donated money several times to help those in the disaster area.

"I feel happy because I can help others," she said, adding that she is always ready to help others who needs help.

Ever since the devastating earthquake struck in Sichuan, people in New York, whether they are Buddhist, Muslim or Christians, rich or poor, black, white or brown, have shown a big heart and love. Flikshteyn is one of them.

The first thing Flikshteyn did when he heard that thousands of people were killed in the quake was that he asked his friends in China to help him donate money.

He said when Jiang talked with him about holding the concert in her drawing room, he said he couldn't agree more and even offered to provide food, beverages, piano, acoustics equipment and other necessary help, too.

Besides, Flikshteyn also downloaded quite many photos and chose some 40 of them to display on one side of the wall of the drawing room.

The photos were well-chosen, many participants said, as the China element was best demonstrated on this special occasions: earthquake relief effort, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the unity of the human in protecting the earth..

Jimmy C. Chang, managing director of Rockefeller & Co, Inc. and his wife Ji Xiaoling both showed up at the concert with their daughter Tiantian.

During the interview, they displayed some photos taken with a few local people when they were traveling in an area between Maoxian and Wenchuan counties last summer.

All people on the pictures were smiling broadly, but Ji, who is originally from quake-hit Chengdu, was not wearing any smiles.

She said she burst into cry when she learned that the devastating earthquake rocked her home town. "I was extremely worried about my relatives and those people in the pictures."

"Are they still alive?" she said with tears in her eyes, noting that her family had pledged to meet those people again when they go back to Sichuan next time.

Ji said Tiantian, who is turning 12 soon, "seems to care more about others after the quake."

She told Xinhua that Tiantian has given 7,000 yuan (US$1,020) to the disaster area, and she has started saving 5 dollars each week from her pocket money so that she could "buy gifts and teach them English" when she visits children back in Sichuan. And she is also considering launching a Web site, dedicated to the fund-raising for people in Sichuan.

Jiang, who has put a lot of energy and love in starting the concert, said she was relieved that the concert was a success.

"Raising money is important," she said, "what's more important is to sow seeds of love in the hearts of our children."

"All kids have a pure and clear heart," she said. "If they know how to love the world and the people, we will be expecting more sunshine."