ASU celebrates unity,
By Jeff Eason
Over the past 100 years, technology has turned our planet into one giant neighborhood.
Jet airplanes enable us to circle the Earth in a matter of days and communication satellites routinely send pictures and words anywhere in mere seconds.
Most of our great-great-grandparents didn’t stray more than a couple of hundred miles from their birthplace during their entire lives. Today it is not unusual to see visitors from dozens of other countries in a single day.
Appalachian State University will recognize today’s international landscape when it hosts the 7th Annual Diversity Celebration and 12th Annual Unity Festival this week. The event will feature musical presentations, dance, arts and crafts, food, sports and much more. Best of all, every event is free and open to the public.
Diversity Celebration at Plemmons
Appalachian State’s Plemmons Student Union will be the site of the Diversity Celebration on Tuesday, April 8 from 3 to 9 p.m. This year’s theme for the event is “Discover the World in Our Backyard.”
The event will feature the 12th Annual Unity Festival in the Blue Ridge Ballroom and food and special exhibits in the Grandfather Ballroom from 3 to 9 p.m.
Ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong will give a lecture titled “Looking at Taiko, at Performance, at Alterity,” in room 421 of the Belk Library at ASU at 5 p.m. on Monday as part of the Diversity Festival.
Highlights of the Unity Festival include Mehandi henna painting, learning to use chopsticks, Chinese dragon dancing, tribal beading, Appalachian carding and spinning, an Underground Railroad Presentation with Audrey Tate and Morris Hatton, aboriginal face painting, and diversity poetry with Blue Mountain Center for the Healing Arts.
Special performances during the Diversity Celebration include Native American Folktales with Lloyd Arneach (3-3:45), Appalachian Folktales with Orville Hicks (4-4:45 & 5-5:45), and Ah! Raza with Gustavo Aguilar (6:30-7:30), all in the Roan Mountain Room.
Cascades will host performances by gospel pianist Morris Hatton (4-4:45), T.V. Barnett & the Roan Mountain Moonshiners (5:15-6:15), Mystic Mountain Belly Dancing (7-7:45), and the Crys Matthews Band (8-9).
The Linville Falls Room will feature performances by clogger and flatfoot dancer Arthur Grimes (3-4), flatfoot dancer Gordy Hinners (4:30-5:30), the African Dance and Drum Ensemble (6-7:30), and Wildfire Dance Theatre (8-9).
On stage at Crossroads Coffee House will be performances by the Irish music ensemble Sunday’s Well (3-4), Appalachian fiddle and banjo duo Meade and Branch Richter (5-5:30), the Todd Wright Jazz Ensemble (6-7), and Serbian and Chilean Guitars (8-9).
The Plemmons Solarium will host performances by Wildfire Dance Theatre (3-3:30), the Boone Scottish Country Dancers (4-4:45), a capella singing group Another Level (5-5:30), the ASU Gospel Choir (6-6:45), Dancin’ 4 Jesus (7-7:45), and bluegrass and gospel with Amantha Mill (8:15-9).
The Whitewater Lounge will host gospel music with Higher Ground from 5:30 to 6 and hip-hop with Oasis H20 from 8 to 8:30. Salsa dancing lessons will be given at the Whitewater Lounge from 6:30 to 7:30.
Other events at the Diversity Celebration include the Red Herring Puppet Theatre at the Multicultural Center (5:30-6 & 7-7:30), poetry with Hilda Downer at the Multicultural Center (6:15-6:45), Finnish music with Jari at the University Bookstore (3-3:30) and Meade and Branch Richter at the University Bookstore (4-4:30).
“Each year the Diversity Celebration is an important piece of Appalachian State University’s history as a progressive force shaping and reflecting the character of both the region and the world,” said a spokesperson for the event. “In the great arch of ideas, talents, cultures, experiences, backgrounds, values and perspectives that frame a liberal arts education, diversity is the keystone.”
Ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong
On Monday, ethnomusicologist Deborah Wong will give a lecture titled “Looking at Taiko, at Performance, at Alterity.” The lecture is free and will be given in room 421 of the Belk Library at ASU at 5 p.m.
Wong will address the question, “How does Japanese-American drumming suggest a new kind of visual ethnomusicology?”
“I offer a model for visual documentation of taiko that folds the history of the colonial gaze into a mindful practice of looking,” said Wong. “Contemporary heritage festivals are in many ways multi-culturalized versions of the world expositions at the turn of the last century. It is impossible to do visual documentation of any kind without re-enacting colonial and tourist traditions of looking.”
Wong teaches at the University of California-Riverside and specializes in the music of Asian America and Thailand. She is currently the president of the Society for Ethnomusicology.
The soNu Ensemble
The ASU Diversity Celebration will sponsor a concert featuring the Southern California electric-acoustic improvisational group soNu on Thursday, April 10 at the Rosen Concert Hall on the campus of ASU. The show starts at 8 p.m. and the event is free and open to the public.
The concert will feature the contemporary classical music of composers Anne Lebaron, Phil Curtis, Gustavo Aguilar, Julio Estrada and Nina Sun Eidsheim. The event is sponsored by the Hayes School of Music and the Diversity Celebration.
Performers at the concert include Gustavo Aguilar on percussion, Phil Curtis on electronics and Nina Sun Eidsheim on voice and electronics.
Described by Anthony Braxton as “the music of the third millennium,” soNu synthesizes a wide range of musical traditions into a sound all its own.
ASU’s Diversity Celebration and Unity Festival are funded in part by the Watauga Arts Council and Grassroots funds from the North Carolina Arts Council, and by ASU Staff Council and the ASU Parents Association.
For a complete schedule of events, activities, presenters and sponsors, as well as maps and information on parking, visit www.celebration.appstate.edu. For more information, call (828) 262-6252 or 262-2144.