Proposal Not Promposal

Courtesy photo from Kyle Twogood

Natalee Still

Senior Kora Lyon was singing “The Moon Represents My Heart” with the concert choir during fifth period on an average day of school, with a cameraman recording them for an alleged promotional video for this year’s music trip. She swiftly pulled out her phone to record Dr. Chen, LSW Music Department’s accompanist, as he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, who is also involved in the program.

Chen said this is a memory he will remember forever. He said, “I have my American family and the people I love here to witness and share with them the happiness.”

Lyon said they were prepping for what they thought was a big recording for the Los Angeles music trip promotion video. She said the choir arrived that day in nice clothes and the choir room spotless but assumed it was all for the video.

As the choir was singing, Kaihan Yang, Chen’s girlfriend, entered the room wearing a lengthy, beautiful, black, and sparkly dress and went to assist Chen in the song, Lyon said. She said the choir didn’t know she was coming; Yang then assisted Chen in the song. 

Lyon said choir teacher Jacob Lowry was directing the students, and then the other directors, Amy Krinke and Katie Fischer joined them in the room as well. She said those two grabbed a bag of rose petals and started tossing them around the floor. “We were like, ‘What is going on?!’” Lyon said. 

She saw Chen stop playing and drop down on one knee and then start reading a letter in Mandarin, Chen and Yang’s first language. Lyon said, “Once he’s done reading her his note in his language, he turns to us and is like, ‘In front of my whole American family, I wanted to ask you the most important question of my life… will you marry me?’” 

Lyon said after watching Yang say “Yes!” the whole room just erupted, crying in disbelief. She said they were all so shocked and happy to experience this moment.

Krinke said the directors have known Chen for several years since he has started working at the school. She said they got a front-row seat on his relationship with Yang from the beginning. They know her personally and work with her when she visits LSW to assist Chen on piano pieces that require four hands. 

Along with supporting their relationship since it started, the directors took part in planning the proposal itself. Lowry said, “We were the secret agents that knew the plan and executed the plan in front of the choir, we were the secret keepers, we were the planners.” They helped plan most of the details: setting up the idea, keeping it a secret from the students, and Yang picking out a ring.

He said they were so happy to help plan this proposal, and that they are already offering to help with the wedding planning. Along with being glad to help, they are overall joyed to see their relationship develop, Lowry said, “Watching them fall in love was really cool.”

“The most exciting relationship is to see them so happy and at peace, and just himself, and comfortable. And I think she brings out that part of him. And he is bringing out in her a lot of qualities that she keeps on the inside as well,” Krinke said. “In any marriage, I think that’s really awesome to find people that complement and challenge each other and I think that’s what they do.”

The song sung by the concert choir, “The Moon Represents My Heart,” was in Mandarin and said it is his mother’s favorite song, so it means a lot to him, which is another reason why he chose to propose with the choir involved. 

The song is very well known in Taiwan, which is their home country, he said. And the connections are great because “this song has become a bridge between me and my mother, and the lady I love,” Chen said. Then he finished his proposal by reading his written note. 

Yang was also told it was a promotional video and she needed to dress up. He said he even prepared her by taking her to the nail shop, even though pianists don’t typically get their nails done. 

Once Yang was proposed to by Chen, she said she was super nervous, “I totally drawn a blank.” She said she was scared of being in front of so many people. It took her several seconds to say yes since she had so many nerves, she said, but that she loved the proposal.

The whole event was originally planned to be all held on the stage in the PAC, but Chen said it didn’t work out that way. “I think the choir room was totally better because this is the place that has some intimacy for us. Because this is where we are every day, and for kids as well. It turned out way better.” 

Both Chen and Yang said they are now looking forward to a simple and happy life together. He said he really wants to give thanks to his colleagues for making all of this happen. 

Courtesy photo from Kyle Twogood