A collaborative effort between the Geneva City School District and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the sixth annual Festival of Nations will feature diverse musical performances including children’s and adult choirs, instrumentals and hip-hop and Latin dance. Among the musical groups performing this year are: the Geneva High School Hip Hop Club, Geneva Hispanic Church of God, Mt. Olive Baptist Church Children on a Mission Youth Choir, St. Francis-St. Stephen Choir, and St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy choirs. Individual musicians performing include Hobart and William Smith students Soeren Wacker ’14 of Hattstedt, Germany, and Congjing Zhong ’13, of Chengdu, China. HWS sophomores Jericsson Pichardo and Natalia Hernandez will be performing a Salsa piece. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, April 20, from 1 to 3 p.m.
In total, more than 80 local groups and clubs will be represented through music, games, performances and presentations. Attendees will be introduced to the traditions, music, art and foods of the Asian, Caribbean, French, Italian, Jewish, Muslim, Russian, and South Asian cultures, among others.
“The children like to go to the festival because they like letting the other kids see what they’re doing in church,” explains Trisha White Golden, who volunteers with the Mt. Olive choir and whose son and husband accompany the choir on drums and guitar, respectively. “The children also really look forward to singing and going around taking part in all the activities and that great food.”
This is the third year her choir is participating in the Festival of Nations, providing what she describes as “upbeat, stomping feet/clapping hands” Baptist music. They will also debut a new dance routine created by some of the girls in the group.
Representing St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy at the festival will be St. Peter’s Community senior and junior children’s choirs. They will perform a Serbian Gypsy dance entitled “Niska Banja,” a gospel inspired piece called “There Has to be a Song,” and “Cantate Domino,” a lively sacred song with Latin text.
The two SPCAA choirs performing are made up of nearly 50 male and female students ranging from grade 3- 12 and represent Ontario, Wayne and Seneca counties. The senior Choir has had the distinction of performing throughout the Northeastern U.S., Great Britain and France. They are planning a tour to England and Scotland in 2015.
“Singing at the Festival of Nations gives the choristers a wonderful opportunity to share the diverse musical selections that they have been learning with the greater community. The choirs sang at last year’s Festival and were thrilled to be invited back again this year,” says Wendy Trowbridge, instructor of music at HWS and director of the choirs at SPCAA. She notes several other SPCAA students will also share their talents on the piano and violins representing composers from the countries of Germany, Czechoslovakia and Italy.
A basket raffle will take place during the Festival to benefit the Center of Concern. Also during the event, the Geneva High School senior class will host a chicken BBQ in front of the schools. The cost for a meal is $8 and includes chicken, roll, salt potatoes and one side.
For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact High School English Teacher Nikki Kersbergen at 315-781-0402 or Nkersbergen@genevacsd.org.
The event is free and open to the public.