Founded in 2005's Manhattan Chinatown, the Columbus Park Senior Orchestra has provided a joyous experience to its members and passing spectators through their amateur Cantonese opera performances on weekends. Singing Jade documents these endearing elderly immigrants' preparation for the New Year's Gala.

Following this arc, the film also takes its viewers into the community beneath the surface of mahjong, Chinese poker and Tai Chi, all of which are often romanticized in tourist photos.

Featuring two troupe members—Chen, a 76-year-old beloved diva, and Mei, a 64-year-old backstage supporter and babysitter, Singing Jade reveals how despite of their different roles, they have managed to foster the community and achieve their inner serenity.

In traditional Cantonese culture, jade as a soulful material, is believed to grow with the owner and protect the aging owner from evil spirits. Singing Jade invites the viewers to feel and think what it means to grow old as an immigrant and an artist with youthful, musical “jade.”

directing, cinematography, editing, sound and subtitling by
produced at the Culture and Media Certificate Program, the Department of Anthropology, New York University
May 2013

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