By Indunil Usgoda Arachchi
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The Tacoma Dome exhibition hall was colorful, joyful, and incredible with exciting performances of many cultures. The cheers and applause of the jam-packed audience belonging to so many diverse cultures were revibrated everywhere.
Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) proudly marked its 25th Annual Asia Pacific New Year Celebration on Feb. 25, 2023. It was the APCC’s largest event in which over 17 Asian American/Pacific Islander local groups performed.
“It has been a journey for 25 years,” Patsy Surh O’Connell, the president and founder of APCC, told the Northwest Asian Weekly. “But we’ve been in the community for the past 27 years. So, you can see today how we started 25 years ago by bringing the community together and featuring one from each country, so that they will have the opportunity to show their communities.”
The nation of Samoa and American Samoa was the featured community for this year. The mass team of the Samoa community that represented a few generations presented an awe-inspiring spectacle of high-energy dancing performances.
“I was so touched by over 200 Samoans coming together, volunteering, and being so proud of being a Samoan and an American Samoan,” O’Connell said. “At the first Tet show, we had Vietnamese and they brought all the Vietnamese community together just like today’s Samoan community to succeed in that ceremony.” She recalled the past history of how APCC brought the Asian/Pacific American community together.
The festival also had a very special Drum of Nations performance during the Opening Ceremony. It featured a collaboration of several groups showcasing percussion instruments and rhythms from different cultures, joining together in unison for a unique musical presentation. Many special VIP guests were in the audience, including elected officials, Consul Generals, and community leaders who took part in these festivities.
“This is what Asia Pacific culture is all about, bringing people together,” Faaluaina Pritchard, the executive director of APCC, said. “It’s the only way we can live harmoniously. So, if we come together and learn how to be with each other, we can learn from each other.” She remarked that kids have learned so much practicing with adults. Learning the language, learning the dances. “94% of the kids who dance today for Samoa country were born and raised in America and never experienced dancing before. Today, people got to see their kids learn how to move in a cultural way and then be presented.”
After Samoa’s electrifying performance, the Main Stage continued to sizzle with an array of sensational and scintillating acts from the countries and cultures of Cambodia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hawaii, India, Guam, China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Okinawa, and Tahiti.
There were over 100 vendors along with many food booths, as well as tables for more fun activities such as writing names in Korean calligraphy, folding Japanese origami, and making Thai crafts.
It was not only an event to enjoy, it was a place to learn a lot about each other’s cultures. It was also a lesson about joining together in unison. The APCC marked the 25th New Year celebration bright and successfully. “We live in America and we have a responsibility to share who we are so other people can understand,” said O’Connell.
Indunil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brett Chapman says
A greatest big “Thank You” and a”Fa’amālō,” goes to the Heavenly Father, for blessing us with the Samoans Community with an Amazing Leaders in different sectors, like Mrs. Lua Pritchard. The intelligence and a big believer of helping people and all generations to come together and learn from each other. Once you’re part of APCC? You are automatically called “FAMILY”so I encourage everyone to register in APCC so you will utilize those awesome benefits for you and your family, like I do, and my afakasi family. Especially, be called APCC Family. The Incredible Staffs of APCC, they served us with respect, a business department Ms. Lupe provided Customer services and resources with a humble and fun spirit, that made me wanted to join in their circle of love. They always provided the answer that I needed for my business and my personal life for growth, by navigating all different resources that helped me and my loved ones
Very professional and warm spirit with positive attitude, and of course, a wise planning to guide me to an unending whirlpool of great information that will prevent my business from not knowing and be misinformed, it was a tremendous work, but it does took a village to raise a child, as one of the saying. The Samoan performance on Saturday , They all came together in one accord, together with God’s Holy Spirit, to hold everyone’s heart, to deliver the message of “Unity” in Families ❤️ Thank you Mrs. Lua Pritchard for the amazing work you provided for all of the Community. Thank you Samoan Community for sharing the true meaning of Unity, to the whole World, what really is a true meaning of ,One heart, One Voice, One Soul, and One Family.
Thank you APCC♥️🙏🏼