Students explore global traditions at annual Cultural Arts Festival
Posted 04/28/2014 12:00AM
"For any society to achieve a richer culture, a culture with different, positive values and exciting richness, and a foundation for peace and understanding, we must recognize and respect every human being's talents, identities, and strengths. It is only then that we can build a strong country and a society in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place." Eighth grader Anthony Duane, paraphrasing cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, offered these lines as a reflection to students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Meeting Hall at the close of the annual Cultural Arts Fair on April 24.
Earlier in the day, seventh grader Adi Meruva had pronounced the games open, using John F. Kennedy's words, including the line: "I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we too will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for out contribution to the human spirit." And Will Locke offered the observation, "I believe we will make many discoveries today, while having fun….While we experience and honor differences, let us also recognize what is common to all human beings."
The boys who spoke prompted Headmaster Ward to note that "There are opportunities for all of us to step up and do something courageous," and added that it was Adi's first time offering a message to the community.
The festival began with the group called Roots Music Collective, a trio that led the audience on an exploration of the global influences and social forces that have shaped American music, from spirituals to rock and hip hop. Afterwards, boys dispersed to attend workshops that ranged from cooking classes in Moroccan food, Mongolian BBQ, crepes, flatbreads of the world, and wontons, to musical traditions such as Peruvian music and art, steel drums, indigenous drumming, America's musical roots, blues, and salsa dancing, to cultural traditions that included Malian mud cloth painting, Mandala (Hindu and Buddhist symbols), Native American symbolism, Greek and Roman art, origami, graffiti, Oceania, Haitian metal arts, architecture, Portuguese tiles, and Chinese calligraphy. Even athletic traditions were represented, with workshops in Nine Men's Morris, Petanque (a form of boules), fencing, soccer around the world, and capoeira, which is a combination of dance, acrobatics, and music.
Workshop presenters included faculty and staff members, parents, guest artists, and students.
The event, organized by Assistant Director of Diversity Jenn Youk See and Diversity and Teaching Intern Kofi Obeng, "is something Fenn invests itself in each year," said Mr. Ward at the close of the festival. "I hope you take the seeds of today," he urged the boys, "and use them to grow in every way."