Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bringing World Cultures to Springfield

This past weekend was full of international activities on our Performing Arts Series and across campus.  On Friday, October 24, UIS hosted its 37th annual International Festival, and we welcomed The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China for a performance of Cirque Peking.  The evening included many pre-show activities before the stunning performance.

Our popular series of pre-show dinners included a Chinese buffet before Cirque Peking.  The attendees enjoyed an assortment of Chinese dishes and lovely decorations created by Sangamon Auditorium’s Development Assistant Brandy Stabler with help from Al Geitle.  (Our next pre-show dinner is less than a week away, before the performance of Anything Goes on Sunday, November 2.)

Sangamon Auditorium’s Director of Audience Development Carly Shank led a special pre-show learning experience for a group of over 200 Girl Scouts and leaders.  The girls learned about the training process to become a professional acrobat and then were able to ask questions of the choreographer for The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China.

Also before the performance, we offered fun activities in the lobby.  Jessica Ingold, the Youth Programs Coordinator at Lincoln Land Community College’s Community Education department, brought a great craft project of making spinning toy top out of a milk jug lid and a toothpick.  The new Sangamon Auditorium Student Club (SASC) led an activity of creating paper lanterns.  This was the first official activity of our new club, and we’re so excited for their involvement in what we do.  Their enthusiasm and ideas are bringing fresh energy into the office, and we’re thrilled to have a new opportunity for UIS students to be more directly involved in what we do.

We were also very pleased to welcome student musicians from UIS Music’s Camerata group to provide pre-show music in the lobby.  Three students played traditional Chinese string instruments, and we also enjoyed a flute and oboe duet playing Taiwanese melodies.  The musicians added wonderful atmosphere to the lobby, and we are happy to be able to support our campus's student musicians.  (If you missed out, a different group of Camerata musicians will be providing classical and holiday pre-show music before the performance by Cantus on Monday, December 1.)

Our international activities continued on Saturday evening with a performance by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Blues.  Bassekou is the world’s leading performer on the ngoni, a traditional African string instrument that is the forerunner to the banjo.  UIS Music also held an Ethnomusicology Concert on Saturday afternoon, showcasing faculty and student musicians performing a wide variety of world music styles.  We had made arrangements for Bassekou’s participation in that concert, but due to travel delays he didn’t arrive in Springfield in time.  Although this was disappointing, we were still pleased to see many UIS Music students in the audience for Bassekou's concert.

We love being able to bring world cultures to central Illinois!

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