Wellesley residents of all ages came out to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year of the Dog with the Morton Circle Chinese singing group. The group is comprised of Chinese seniors who have come from China to Wellesley, many to be with children and grandchildren.

On Friday afternoon, Jan. 12, Barbara Offenhartz, a board member of Wellesley Council on Aging, said she was interested in "using music to bridge cultures" when organizing the East Meets West program.

The hour-long celebration included folk songs sung in both English and Chinese, a song-and-piano duet, a Chinese opera solo, music performed on an "erhu," a Chinese violin, and Chinese dances.

Jan Jurgelon of Dover, who is a Wellesley Food Pantry volunteer, said a client invited her earlier in the week to attend the event.

"My husband is actually from Cairo, (Egypt), so I love exploring other cultures, and this was a bonus to me, like I’m so touched that she invited me and it was so beautiful," said Jurgelon. "And [with] the theme of East Meets West and West Meets East, I have goose bumps, and it just opens my heart and I feel that she and I represent those themes."

Shanrui Ya, a Morton Circle Chinese singer, said it made her very happy to share her culture with (Wellesley) Americans and to celebrate the "East and West getting together."

Offenhartz said it was important to organize such an event with Chinese seniors in town so that they could "come [to the Tolles Parsons Center] to enjoy what they enjoy with people who come here every day."

"Everybody loves to sing," she added, an act that translates across all languages and cultures.

And the dancing, Jurgelon said, "was a combination of mastery, surprise, elegance, grace, and just sheer beauty. I’m so pleased to have been able to have witness this today just by someone asking and saying yes."