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A Multicultural Holiday Concert Event- Celebrating Diversity

On Friday, December 10, at 8 pm, Berea’s freshman class and the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a multicultural holiday celebration in Phelps Stokes Chapel. The event was organized for international students who reside in Berea’s campus during winter break. The event turned Phelps Stokes into a magical venue, uniting students from around the world.

Ali Hassan performed at the Multicultural Holiday Celebration

Freshman class president Markcus Kitchens said, “When I was running for class president, my platform was to bring all races, all denominations and all ethnicities together. Although most Americans celebrate Christmas, Berea College is open to all students and their customs from around the world. We want them to feel as though Berea College is their home as well as ours.”

After a heartfelt speech by President Larry D. Shinn, the concert began with a touching musical performance called “Yar Dhadhi Ishq Aatish” which means “O Joyous Flames of the Divine” by Ali Hassan from Karachi, Pakistan, followed by the talented flute player Mikheil Matcharadze who hails from Tbilisi, Georgia.

International student and SGA freshman cabinet member Janice D’Souza said, “Usually when we think of holidays here, we think of Christmas but many people forget about holidays in foreign countries. Most of the international students stay on campus during the winter and we always feel alone, more alone than we usually do throughout the year because no one is here.”

A few of Berea College’s music ensembles were present to perform harmonious tunes. The Bluegrass Ensemble combined a striking mixture of country and bluegrass roots played on a variety of instruments, including the banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass and mandolin. They sang “The Cherry Tree Carol”, “Breaking up Christmas” and “I Wonder as I Wander”. The Women’s Chorus made an appearance, wearing beautiful bright blue dresses. Their repertoire included “Night of Silence” by Daniel Kanter and an Israeli folk song, “Shalom Chaverim”, which translates to: “Goodbye, my friend.”

Music instructor Mark Calkins performed on stage alongside his voice class students; they had everyone singing along to American classics such as “The Christmas Song” and their own rendition of “Summertime” with words from the hymn “Gentle Mary”, bringing fantastic creativity to the stage. The Black Music Ensemble finished the concert on a high note by encouraging the audience to stand up and sing along with the performers.

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