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Currents: international night

International Festival Brings Campus, Countries Together

by Amber Cronin '11

“If everyone in the world could come together like this, there would be no more war or problems in the world…” These words of wisdom were spoken by Alfonso “Papo” Lopez Jr., lead singer of the Latin band La Perfecta, who performed at Tuesday's International Festival held in the Ware Campus Center. The night was filled with dancing, smiles, beautiful music, and excitement for Colby-Sawyer students and community members.

Students, children, professors and community members alike were enthralled by the salsa lessons that started the night in Wheeler Hall. Two or three of the young children started off dancing at the beginning of the night and did not stop until they were reluctantly dragged from the dance floor by their parents.

On the other side of the room at the country tables, it was a different story. Students could be seen milling around the tables, conversing with the 18 different representatives from their respective countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Dubai, Russia, and Chile, just to name a few. Some were required to be there for a class, others, however, wanted to be enlightened about the cultures of other countries. The event was organized and sponsored by the Cross-Cultural Club, a popular club for international students at Colby-Sawyer.

At the Ghana table, Colby-Sawyer student Joshua Ray spoke about growing up in Ghana, the regions of the country, his tribe, and some of the things that are affecting the country now. Many of the tables also had traditional foods from the countries, so as the people wandered from table to table they had the opportunity to snack on delicious cuisine from many regions of the world.

At the head of the dance floor was a small stage filled with nearly any instrument you could possibly think about; keyboard, drums, trumpets, trombones, saxophone, they were all there, plus more. As the band rested, salsa music filled the room with a welcoming sound and pumped the audience up for the dancing that was yet to come. As parents milled around at the tables, several children were taking advantage of the open dance floor, dancing around with each other.

When the band took the stage at 7 p.m., the mood of the room settled and all of the tables were cleared; people took seats on the maroon couches that surrounded the dance floor. “Salsa is loud and fun music,” said Lopez, and he was right. As soon as the band began to play, the mood turned from quiet and subdued, to loud, raucous and fun. The first on the dance floor were the little kids, as they had been there all night, and they were soon joined by the group's dancers. Eventually, as everyone became more comfortable, the entire room was on the dance floor dancing the night away, salsa style.

As Lopez said when the band started to play, if everyone in the world could come together like we all did on Tuesday night, the world would be a much better place. The festival brought many different cultures, religions, and beliefs all together in one room , and the atmosphere created was one of peace, love, and most of all, fun.

Photographs by Gil Talbot

Amber Cronin is a Colby-Sawyer College student who writes for College Communications.