Tibetan Lamas highlight WNCC’s Multicultural Festival
Appeal Staff Writer
The Tibetan Lamas will highlight Western Nevada Community College’s 12th annual Multicultural Festival on Saturday.
“We’re real excited to have them here,” said Claire Korschinowski, WNCC’s student activities coordinator.
Planning the once-a-year festival occurs year-round, and it’s the largest community event the college hosts. They expect at least 1,000 people to attend this year, she said.
“The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music Sacred Dance” is presented by a group of monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery In India. They will share some of Tibet’s ancient traditions through costumes, dance and instruments. And their chanting is unique and powerful because of a technique known as “overtone singing.”
Drepung monks performed on the soundtrack for the film “Seven Years in Tibet,” a recording nominated for a Golden Globe award. This group supports itself by performing and selling Tibetan merchandise, such as handmade jewelry, peace flags, home decor and sand-painting tools. The Dalai Lama endorses their work as a way to promote healing and world peace.
The idea of the festival is to entertain and educate. Money earned by the monks is also used to ensure Tibetan culture is preserved and continued, Korschinowski said.
Drepung Loseling Monastery was established near Lhasa, Tibet in 1416. It was one of the country’s largest monastic universities and housed 10,000 students from China, Himalayan India, Mongolia, and the Mongol regions of Eastern Russia.
More than 6,500 monasteries were destroyed or closed after the 1959 invasion of Tibet by the Chinese, however. All but 250 of Drepung’s monks were imprisoned or killed. Those who escaped re-established their monastery in Karnataka, southeast of Bombay, India. The new monastery now has more than 2,500 members, according to Drepung Loseling Institute in Atlanta, which offers a Tibetan Buddhist studies degree through Emory University.
In addition to their performance Saturday, the monks will create a mandala, a colorful sand-painted sculpture with geometric shapes and ancient spiritual symbols that gets its colors from herbs, grains and flowers. This artistic ritual began Wednesday and ends with a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The public is welcome to come to the college’s Bristlecone Building today and Friday to watch the monks create the mandala. When the mandala is complete, the monks usually follow tradition and put the sand into a lake or return it to the earth. Those at the festival can participate in a different sand return method because the monks will distribute the colored sand in bags because there is no waterway at the college, she said.
The institute and actor Richard Gere co-produce the presentation. Monks who participate aren’t professional entertainers; they go back to their monastic activities after 15-month stints, the institute emphasized.
Young people can enjoy the Children’s Cultural Corner and exhibits of artifacts from cultures across the globe. Every group involved will offer an educational component and opportunities to participate will be numerous.
Also available will be a variety of craft and other items. Ethnic foods for sale include: Indian tacos, crispy cheese wontons from Mei’s Diner, Scandinavian heart-shaped waffles with strawberries, tacos de asada and agua de horchata from La Guadalupana, Salvadorian pupusas, tamales and quesadillas, and fresh fruit from Frusta’s Frescas.
Call 445-3000 for details.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at email@example.com or 881-1215.
If you go
WHAT: WNCC’s Multicultural Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Bristlecone Building at Western Nevada Community College
In addition to the Tibetans, who will perform at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., free live music and traditional dancing will be featured at the festival:
Chi Kwan Tae Kwon Do
Martial Arts Demonstration
Mexican Singer with Mariachi
Reno Taiko Tsuru No Kai
Japanese Taiko drumming
Ali Baba’s Belly Dance
Kaulana NaPua O Hula
Hawaiian cultures dancing
Eagle Wings Pageant Dancers
American Indian dancing
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