News From Terre Haute, Indiana


March 14, 2013

Diversity in music, dance to take spotlight at ISU

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute’s cultural diversity will take center stage on March 23 at University Hall on the Indiana State University campus.

The first International Music and Dance Festival — sponsored by ISU and Arts Illiana — will showcase the many cultures that are woven into the community, with a strong talent base within each.

“The voluntary International Students’ Friendship Program for all the area colleges and universities in the Wabash Valley started about 25 years ago, to provide the students with the opportunities to be part of the community,” said Pat Grigg, organizer of the event.

 “Among many activities, the group has come together twice a year to share international foods, enjoy one another’s fellowship and perform concerts.”

Grigg said her idea to bring all student and community international groups together and perform a public concert would enlighten the community at large to the diverse array of international culture that makes up our community.

“The festival will be an exciting event for our community and provide an opportunity for many participating performers to establish new friendships,” Grigg said.

Zachariah Mathew, associate director of Center for Global Engagement at ISU, has worked to engage international students on campus and provide funds to help launch the festival, including providing the venue.

Approximately 100 students and community members, ages 6 years to 70, will represent nearly 15 countries or cultures.

Audiences can experience traditional vocal and instrumental music of South Korea and China performed by the Terre Haute Korean School and Chinese Community, respectively.

ISU African Student Union members will perform tribal dances and drumming that originated in Nigeria, Ghana and the Congo. Dancers from the Filipino and Indian communities will bring beauty and grace to the stage, while dancers from the Latin-American community will capture the rhythmic beat of Cuban and Latin music.

The country of Brazil will be represented with a vocal and instrumental performance. Italian singers will serenade with music from their native Italy, and the saxophone will offer contemporary and jazzy gospel interpretations representing black American culture. The American Folk Music form will also be celebrated, as will Jordanian folk music and dance.

Weaving the festival together will be the calypso, classical, jazz, pop and reggae selections played by the ISU Steel Drum Band, under the direction of Jimmy Finnie, professor of music. The band’s repertoire adds the music of Trinidad and Tobago to the international line up.

Ghada Halasa, ISU international student from Jordan summed up the festival as, “Different cultures, different languages, but we dance together.”

Admission for the event is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at Arts Illiana, 23 N. Sixth St., in Terre Haute; call 812-235-5007 or email ISU students may pick up tickets at the office of the Center for Global Engagement, Rhoads Hall Mezzanine, 401 Chestnut St.; call 812-237-2439 or email

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