COLUMBIA STATE TO HOST 
INTERNATIONAL CULTURE FEST

Event is Complimentary and Open to the Public on February 16

(Columbia, Tenn. – February 8, 2011) - - - Columbia State Community College will host an International Culture Fest on Wednesday, February 16 at 10 a.m. in the Ledbetter Auditorium located in the Frank G. Clement building on the Columbia campus. Culture Fest is a celebration of international culture and will feature various performances during the day from a variety of regions designed to provide a better understanding of international art forms and global diversity. The event is free and open to the public.

Kicking off the event will be Singers of United Lands (S.O.U.L.), a unique quartet featuring singers from four different continents including Africa, Australia, North America and South America. These professionally trained vocalists represent not only a geographical diversity; they possess an enthusiasm for sharing their native songs and cultures with audiences throughout the United States and beyond. The group focuses on international vocal music, world history and linguistics from their respective countries.

“International Culture Fest is an important event because it exposes individuals to various international art forms and stresses global diversity,” said Ana Basoa-McMillan, Director of International Education and Associate Professor of English and Spanish at Columbia State. “Aside from the obvious cultural and aesthetic advantages, Culture Fest provides individuals with a greater understanding of societies that might be influential in their economic future.”

Monica Cooley of Kala Nivedanam will perform at 11 a.m. Cooley is a well-respected performer and teacher of Bharatanatyam, which is an intricate and beautiful classical dance form of southern India. Though born of American parents, she has lived, worked and studied globally. Cooley was born in Singapore, raised in Indonesia and studied Indian dance in Atlanta, Georgia and later professionally trained at Kala Samarpana in India, an institution known for its renowned dancers. Cooley belongs to the Kalakshetra tradition which is known for its expression through sharp footwork, precise technique and emphasis on bhakti or religious devotion. The strong techniques combined with intricate rhythms and extraordinary music allows Cooley to share the spirituality and beauty of the classical dance tradition with audiences. She is a resident artist of the Global Education Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Djembefole West African Drummers and Dancers are scheduled to perform at 12:20 p.m. This dynamic group under the direction of Shannon Holland, lead djembe drum instructor at the Global Education Center, travels to schools throughout the area demonstrating percussion instruments from around the world and teaching West African drum rhythms. The performance will also feature lead dancer, Tirra Olufemi Hargrow who also offers workshops for students to learn more about the artistry of West African dance.

Finally, Island Fusion will take the stage at 1:15 p.m. This six-member ensemble will present the sights and sounds of Polynesian Drum and Dance styles. The group has studied with many different artists including Kalei Lam of Hawai’i and Ituala Sue’sue of Samoa and is known for their engaging and fun performances. The senior members of the group teach both dance and drum at the Global Education Center.

Performances for this event have been coordinated through the Global Education Center, a Nashville-based nonprofit organization that uses the arts of diverse cultures to highlight the commonalties of all people and promote cross-cultural understanding and respect through high quality interactive arts programming.

This event is sponsored by Columbia State Community College’s International Education and Lyceum Committees. For more information, contact Ana Basoa-McMillan, Director of International Education at Columbia State at (931) 540-2876 or by emailing mcmillan@columbiastate.edu.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee’s first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth largest higher education system in the nation.  For more information, please visit www.columbiastate.edu.

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