From ballet to hip-hop, a Colonial America display to a discussion about elephants in India, the seventh annual Festival of Nations will feature a wide range of performances and presentations. This is the greatest variety of offerings in the Festival’s history. A collaborative effort between the Geneva City School District and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, this year’s event takes place on Saturday, April 26, from 1 – 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“We are really excited by the range of performances we’ll see at the Festival this year, and the commitment and creativity of all of the participants in developing programs,” says High School English Teacher Nikki Kersbergen, chair of the event. “In seven years, the Festival has grown bigger and better and really represents the diverse and talented Geneva community.”
Among the groups performing this year are: C&E (comedy club); Geneva Hispanic Church of God; HipNotiQs step team; HWS student Christopher Holoman ’16 (dance); HWS Gospel Choir; Perfect Third, a cappella group; St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy; and HWS student Linqi Wang ’17 (dance). Individual musicians performing include HWS students Colleen Moore ’16 (flute/vocals) and Grace Bugbee ’16 (upright bass); and GHS student Jenna Caster (piano/vocals).
Members of the Phoenix Players, an HWS student-managed organization, will provide mask and face painting inspired by the Balinese masks they are going to study on a trip with the Colleges’ theatre department in December, 2014; they will also show short clips of Balinese theatre.
St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy students from the new dance studio led by Alaina Olivieri will begin the SPCAA’s presentation with several dance selections. Students will perform selections from a traditional ballet class: adagio, allegro, and across the floor combinations. Additionally, students from the Ballet II class will perform a partnering dance, “Polonaise.”
“I am honored to be able to participate in this year’s Festival,” says Olivieri. “What a wonderful way to bring awareness to the diversity that makes life in Geneva so exceptional.”
Following the dance performance, approximately 45 members of the St. Peter’s Community Children’s Choir will sing a spiritual called “Keep Your Lamps;” a gospel-style piece titled “Praise His Holy Name” by Keith Hampton; and “I’m Goin’ Up a Yonder,” a spiritual written by Walter Hawkins. Several Arts Academy students will play selections on the violin and piano.
“The students and faculty of St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy are excited to perform and celebrate with the Geneva community the different art forms that they have been crafting this winter,” says Wendy Trowbridge, instructor of music at HWS and director of the choirs at SPCAA.
Cultural Food and Presentations
In addition to the performers, more than 80 local groups and clubs will be represented through displays, food and presentations. Attendees will be introduced to the traditions, music, art and foods of the Asian, Caribbean, Italian, Jewish, Muslim, Russian, and South Asian cultures, among others. Students and volunteers will prepare 14 cultural recipes for sampling (the most of any year) and volunteer organizations will bring food as part of their displays, such as the Sons of Italy’s famous meatballs.
Additionally via Skype, Sangita Iyer, an independent film maker and native of India, will provide a glimpse into the use of elephants in India for cultural festivals. Iyer, who now lives in Toronto, Canada, is producing “For the Love of Elephants” a feature-length educational documentary.
GHS Structured Studies/Survival teacher Chris Blomgren will host a Colonial America demonstration in his classroom, complete with period clothing and wares.
GHS students will take the opportunity of the Festival to inform others about issues locally and globally through educational displays.
GHS Senior Dan Picchi, a volunteer with the White Springs Fire Department, plans to bring turnout gear, the respirators, and the medical bag and have a rescue truck on site during the Festival. He also hopes to inspire community members to join the department.
“Being part of the fire department is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Picchi “I hope we can inspire more people to join.”
Marienide Lopez, a junior at GHS, will host a table for One Bead, a nonprofit organization established to raise money for education in East Africa through the sale of recycled glass beads.
Also at the event, the artwork of 14 Geneva students will be featured on a set of art notecards developed as a 2014 Festival of Nations fundraiser. Single cards and sets will be available for purchase at the Festival. A basket raffle will benefit the Community Lunch Program at the Methodist Church, and the GHS senior class will host a chicken BBQ.
For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kersbergen at 315-781-0402 or Nkersbergen@genevacsd.org.