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KOTA KINABALU – For years now, Patrick Lee, 48, has been keeping the drum display performance tradition alive, enlivening every Lunar New Year (LNY) Mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.
This year was no exception. It was this drum display performamce before the Eucharistic celebration that lent the distinctive LNY festive atmosphere to the event on 28 Jan 2017.
The three drummers, Frankie Wong, 13 (Kota Kinabalu High School), Brian Wong, 11 (Shan Tao Primary School) and Jessica Liew, 11 (Chung Hwa KK), displayed their skills before an appreciative thousand over faithful including Archbishop John Wong, Abp Emeritus John Lee, Fathers Wilfred Atin, Rhobby Mojolou, Joshua Liew, Mitchelly Kiun, Max Hontor, and the religious sisters.
In an interview, Lee said that the drummers came for monthly training since March for two to three hours, learning the 14 steps involving the whole body. Each student must have interest and patience to learn the skills.
The Chinese drum (played by Lee) was first used as part of the musical ensemble for the choir during LNY Mass in 1987 under Josephine Kung. But in 2000 it was performed separately from the choir just before Mass and after Communion prayer. Down the years, Lee has trained many young boys and girls for the performance incorporating the zodiac animal theme.
In his homily, Abp Wong related salvation history to the LNY celebration theme, urging everyone to be alert and live a life worthy of their calling.
At the presentation of gifts, 18 presenters brought candles, flowers, fruits, vegetables, sticky rice cake, kuazi, money, bread and wine to the altar.
After Communion Prayer, Abp Wong blessed 14 big baskets and several boxes of mandarin oranges to be distributed to the faithful after Mass.
The Chinese rite of bowing three times before the altar (representing God) by all, to the concelebrants by the faithful, and to each other took place before the final blessing and dismissal.
As part of their appreciation tradition, the Chinese community gave ang pows to the clergy and religious present.
After the distribution of oranges, many of the faithful and clergy adjourned to the front of the parish centre for the dragon, lion, and unicorn dance performances by the You Yi Troupe.