Latin IS America

Inaugural festival explores interwoven cultures

The MSU College of Music is introducing new ways to experience the blending of U.S. and Latin American cultures. 

An enriching roster of music, film, and scholarly discussions by nationally and internationally renowned guests was presented to the community through a series of unique events this April.

Festival pioneers—MSU College of Music faculty colleagues Ricardo Lorenz, Etienne Charles and Mark Sullivan—collaborated with campus and community partners to create the event, which ran April 15 through April 27. Events included concerts featuring steel pan jazz groups, wind symphony, saxophone, piano, and symphony orchestra with choral ensembles, as well as a film screening and lecture.

The festival entertained and strengthened the perspective that Latin American and U.S. cultures are increasingly intertwined, while examining arts and cultural connections through different events. Attendance exceeded expectations and plans are in the works to continue the festival in 2014 and 2015.

“Our objective is always to be inclusive,” says Dean James Forger of the MSU College of Music. “We wanted to provide a transformative and educational experience for our students and the community, not just one concert at a time but through a series of events that build bridges and develop a broader understanding. Latin IS America provided an excellent opportunity to accomplish this.”

The festival was supported through a grant from the MSU Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives and reflects the university’s commitment to global engagement, diversity, and community outreach. The festival was coordinated by the MSU College of Music in collaboration with multiple campus and community organizations including the Department of Romance and Classical Studies, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Department of Theatre, MSU Department of Social Science, the Chicano/Latino Studies Program, and the East Lansing Film Society.

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