Chongqing - In the joyful tune of Spring Festival Overture, Jiang Chenglian moves her forearms rhythmically, her face flushed with excitement. It is the last rehearsal before her Chinese music society plays the community Spring Festival gala. It is an improbable get-together before the societies connect the once-unacquainted residents and turn the Jin Zhuyuan community into a big family.
Described as a spiritual home by Jiang, the societies are more than an interest group for the neighborhood. Once a lead singer in the singer's society, Jiang was chosen by members to fill up the indispensable role of conductor for the singer's society and the Chinese music ensemble.
"I feel needed and respected. And I also made some friends here. We spend a lot of time together outside social activities," said Jiang. By her energetic and always-smiling look, one can hardly tell the fact that she lost her only child in her 30s and has been fighting cancer herself since 2018. "Most people are surprised when they find out my condition. Music helps me stay positive, and the societies make my life anticipated and fulfilled; I don't feel like a patient," Jiang laughed.
Established in 2008, the Jin Zhuyuan Community accommodates more than 10 thousand residents who barely know each other. "Jin Zhuyuan is an acquaintance society as most of our residents come from the rural area. It is particularly important to socially and emotionally connect them if we want to offer a satisfying and pleasant living environment for residents," said Tong Mingxian, Party secretary of the Jin Zhuyuan Community Committee.
After consulting enthusiasts and conducting extensive questionnaires in the community, 34 societies were established to serve the interests and needs of the residents. A resident leads each society with a specific skill, organizes daily practice, and coaches members. Additionally, the community committee invites professionals to give lessons.
Zhang Zhengquan, who has played Erhu since primary school, is the Erhu performer in the Chinese music ensemble. His wife, He Kaibi, led several societies, such as the Taiji societies. Zhang Liling, the family's daughter, heads a dancing society.
"Society is not only a class to improve skills, but also a chance to know our neighbors. We feel belong and enjoy doing something as a group," Zhang said, "neighbors were strangers and bickered over trifles that now can be resolved in a smile."
According to Yang Xin, deputy Party secretary of the committee who has served the community since its establishment, changes are apparent and revealed in the Spring Festival gala. Residents were reluctant to participate in community events; it was difficult even to organize a chorus for a singing competition in the fledgling community, Yang said, but now, it won't take long for the residents to stage a fine performance.
The number of societies is increasing. "The committee will identify new needs in the community and welcome requests from our residents. It is our intention in the societies to make Jin Zhuyuan a better place for the residents," said Tong Mingxian.
(The original author is Guo Shuyu from Liangjiang New Area Media Center)
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