Culture clubs celebrate with dance and song

Jacqueline Nguyen

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Originally published on March 19, 2015

The BSU members freshman Lorrene Fudge, senior Kala Jones, freshman Chy’na Davis, sophomore Unique Abram and sophomore Widya Batin accompany freshman Golden Landis von Jones, who has the mic. They performed an acapella medley of African-American music throughout the years. Photo by Kelley Grade

As each club breezed through last-minute rehearsals and the audience began to take their seats, the crowd’s anticipation and the performers’ nervousness filled the school’s auditorium.

Performances from members of the Black Student Union, Filipino-American Club, La Raza Club and Polynesian Club brought the school’s first Multicultural Night to life on Jan. 30.

“Ultimately, the reaction, energy, positivity and encouragement that came from the audience made us very happy.”

After a welcome by Dean Ray Cordoba, representatives from each cultural group came together to perform the national anthem and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The BSU performed an acapella medley of African-American music throughout the years, including songs that ranged from classics such as Michael Jackson’s 1987 hit “Man in the Mirror” to hip-hop anthems like Beyonce’s 2013 hit “Flawless.” “Ultimately, the reaction, energy, positivity and encouragement that came from the audience made us very happy,” counselor and BSU sponsor Adrienne Smith said.

The BSU also shed light on the issue of aggressive police behavior toward African-Americans and screened a short documentary which educated the audience about Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. “We feel that it is important to spread awareness about these injustices and show our support through solidarity,” BSU vice president senior Kala Jones said.

Two students from a fraternity at San Francisco State University sang, chanted, and did stunts. Smith added: “The purpose of having San Francisco State students come and perform was to show the audience the contributions that African-American students have made at a university level. What’s more important was that they showed that they were college students who are part of a cause and a club, and that they actually intermingled with high schoolers to show unity.” Photo by Kelley Grade

Two students from a fraternity at San Francisco State University brought their energetic performance to the stage, engaging the audience with their songs, chants, and stunts. “The purpose of having San Francisco State students come and perform was to show the audience the contributions that African-American students have made at a university level,” Smith said.“What’s more important was that they showed that they were college students who are part of a cause and a club, and that they actually intermingled with high schoolers to show unity.”

After the BSU took their bows, junior Gabby Birog kicked off Fil-Am’s segment of the show with an acapella performance of the Filipino national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang.”

Fil-Am member junior Josette Rojo performs a traditional dance that tells the story of a young woman’s marriage. Boys wore colored pants and white shirts with colored sailor ties, and girls wore colored wrap skirts and shirts with lace and bead details. Photo by Kelley Grade

After the dancers exited the stage, Fil-Am’s video production crew screened a comedic trailer based on John Green’s book-turned-movie, The Fault in Our Stars, a parody which they dubbed “The Fault in Our Lumpia.” The main characters of the short film met at a support group for those diagnosed with lumpia addiction, and subsequently fell in love as Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters did in The Fault in Our Stars. The film production served as a humorous way of informing the audience about an important part of Filipino culture through the traditional Filipino dish.

After Fil-Am, La Raza performed songs and dances to celebrate their culture.

La Raza member freshman Jacqueline Angulo in a traditional Mexican dance to “Yucatan-Las Mujeres Que se Pintan.” Photo by Alexis Picache

“You know how siblings argue all the time, but in the end they love each other? That’s what our bond is.”

All four clubs share a familial-like bond that gives them the confidence they need to perform on stage. “The performances tightened our bond not just as a club, but also as a family,” Ruelas said. “You know how siblings argue all the time, but in the end they love each other? That’s what our bond is. We are a family that looks out for each other and helps each other.”

These clubs perform not only to educate the audience, but also to better themselves. “We’re not only performing to preserve and promote Polynesian culture, but the main thing is for us to have fun and feel like we accomplished something at the end of the year,” Poly Club co-president senior Tristan Sa’aga said. “That’s what we strive for: accomplishment.”

Freshmen Jacqueline Angulo and Nina Gonzalez salsa dance to Marc Anthony’s “Vivir mi vida.” Photo by Alexis Picache

Last on the stage, Polynesian Club performed traditional dances from islands such as Hawaii, Samoa and New Zealand.

Polynesian Club members seniors Zarianna Busby and Yancey Reid in a Samoan partner dance, Ae e te lei tuua. Photo by Alexis Picache

Although there were scheduling conflicts, the time that the clubs spent practicing for their performances brought the members closer together. “We had practices starting from 3:45 p.m. that went up all the way to 8:00 p.m.,” Fil-Am president senior Anabel Gimena said. “It was really heart-warming to see that people stayed that long because they wanted to practice and just bond with other club members.”

“We feel that it is important to spread awareness about these injustices and show our support through solidarity.”

The idea of hosting a Multicultural Night has been in the works for a long time. Multiple clubs have asked technical theater instructor Kyla Morris if she could coordinate their night performances. “The theater is a busy place year round and I wanted to find a way to support all the clubs in one event because we do not have a lot of room in the theater calendar,” Morris said. “I thought we could have Multicultural Night to bring all the clubs together and celebrate, as well as share, all the different cultures in one evening.” Sa’aga took the initiative to put the idea into action, and all four clubs came together to bring the prospect of Multicultural Night to life.

Senior Kala Jones in the Polynesian Club’s Fakateretere showcase, which is a Tahitian slow dance. Photo by Alexis Picache

Cordoba would like to see future multicultural assemblies educate the audience more about the cultures. “Instead of just showing the dance, they can talk about it,” Cordoba said. “That way, they’re giving people a more complete idea of what that was about.”

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Culture clubs celebrate with dance and song