Cultures blend at community college festival

The aromas of curry and rice pilaf blended with those of Indian tacos and Mexican tamales Saturday outside the Aspen building at Western Nevada community College.

Inside, Sarah Winnemucca Hall rang from the stamping of boots as members of the International Folkloric Ballet performed Mexican dances.

Elsewhere in the Aspen Building, handicrafts by Paiute Indians were displayed next to those of Asian Indians. College students from Japan demonstrated calligraphy and the art of origami paper folding.

The fifth annual WNCC Multicultural Festival gave lie to the notion that Northern Nevada does not have a diverse population. Among the participants recruited by organizer Aurora Ruiz-Hurte were the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans, the India Association of Northern Nevada, the Creative Combustion African dance troupe and St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Church Youth Group.

Even the celebrity emcee, Washoe Valley resident Toni Tennille, was involved because of a cross-cultural influence.

"I'm here because I'm a student at WNCC, too," Tennille said. "I'm studying to learn Spanish and my instructor, Aurora, asked me to join in."

Tennille said she had chosen to take Spanish because it is spoken in so many countries so it broadened her opportunities to explore other cultures.

Tennille and husband Daryl dragon toured and recorded as the Captain and Tennille, hitting the charts in 1975 with their album and Grammy Song of the Year "Love Will Keep Us Together."

During one of her introductions, the audience asked her to sing and she finally agreed, if some of the audience would join her in singing. A "Miguel" was persuaded to come up on stage, then WNCC president Dr. Carol Lucey was nominated and escorted to the stage as well.

Lucey, who may be still experiencing a bit of cultural shock since immigrating here from the foreign climes of New York State, gamely sang along with Miguel and Tennille on an a cappella rendition of "Love Will Keep Us Together."

Chizuko Suzuki, Hisako Tokuyama, Tsutomu Miyamoto and Tomoru Sato came to WNCC representing the Japanese Student Action Network from the University of Nevada, Reno.

They presented a fashion show to explain how traditional Japanese men's yukatas and women's kimonos had evolved and that they are still worn at times, though they are being replaced by western garb. The yukata is a light cotton robe worn at homes during hot and before and after Japanese hit tub baths.


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