Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m., the International Relations Club presented "Culture Night 2000." The annual event celebrates the world's diversity, as well as the diversity of the W.C. student body. An IRC member commented, "It's an important event every year. It displays cultural heritages and identities of the world for the whole campus to see. I'm looking forward to our audience's reactions."
The event was held in the Casey Academic Center, beginning with a dinner of various international dishes, including dishes from Pakistan, the United States, Japan, Senegal, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, India, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central America, Italy, Thailand, Costa Rica, Cuba, Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, France, Taiwan, China, and Mexico.
Dinner coordinator Erin Gabriel commented, "I was amazed by the way that the international community pulled together and made the night a terrific success for the International Relations Club and Washington College. The night proved that Washington College is a place of great ethnic diversity, where education and understanding of foreign cultures is encouraged."
At 8:30 p.m., student presentations began with a variety of singing, dancing, and poetry. The event ended with an international fashion show of authentic ethnic costumes, representing over 20 countries.
Seating was at a premium due to the audience's size, despite attempts to add chairs as more people entered. There was a standing crowd of over twenty people.
Senior Elijah Johnson served as the master of ceremonies, introducing each program. The first was an Indian dance "Dhol Bhaje" (Play the Drums), performed by Cristina Baus, Ajit Bharwani, Charu Guliani, Wadia Haddaji, Angela Kim, Rick Lamuth, Aurangzeb Magsi, Jennifer Mullan, Lorena Saenz, and Sumita Saha.
The next act was a French song, entitled "La Vie en Rose" (Life in Pink), sung by Ariane Auffrant and Elise Bayle.
Visiting student Simon Best gave a reading of British poetry. The first poem was "Oxford," by Tom Lovatt-Williams, described by Best as "The epitome of Englishness."
He then read "Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll. Best recited the last poem from memory, using dramatic gestures and vocal changes.
"My favorite act of the evening was probably the Indian dance that opened the evening," said Best. "I had an excellent time reading; it was great to see the diversity of culture on campus and to have students from different countries working together to produce an event."
Haddaji followed, with a performance of the Tunisian anthem, complete with a flag bearer. Johnson performed the national anthem of Kenya. He then introduced the next group.
A Spanish Sevillanas dance, from southern Spain, entitled "Deja que te mire" (Let me Look at You) was next. Maria Ramierez Auz, Michele Bantz, Isabel Navarro, Elena Sanchez, David Santos, and Pamela Vasquez performed in this number.
It was apparent that the next performance was well-liked, judging by the applause at its finish. Julietta Fosbery and Suloit Mukherjee sang "The Prayer," alternating between Italian and English. Fosbery commented before the performance, "I don't actually speak Italian, but I can improvise."
Max Orsini and Bayle performed a song composed for the event, titled "Part from You." The next act was a dance by Atsuko Hirakawa and Esete Workneh from Ethiopia, entitled "Sebebe".
Ahmed Khan recited a Pakistani poem "Yeh jo hulka hulka saroor" (This Slight Intoxication), a poem that tells the story of a man obsessed with a woman. The obsession drives him to drink because he cannot have her.
A Japanese song was performed by Kozue Mita, Mukherjee, and Mayumi Ushiro, called "First Love," alternating between English and Japanese lyrics.
The next group demonstrated Latin merengue to music titled "Tu Sonrisa" (Your Smile). Dancers were Auffrant, Bantz, Haddaji, Milton Lopez, Navarro, and Matt Young.
Fosbery and Gabriel sang "Another Suitcase and Another Hall" from the musical Evita. For the next act, Megan McMahon and Susanna Kanther performed a piece of Italian opera, "Rice vete, O pardon cina."
"A Whole New World" from the movie Aladdin, was sung by Mukherjee and Workneh, accompanied by Miki Takao on piano.
The final performance of the night was by the W.C. Dance Company. The group danced to the song "Real Love," by Mary J. Blige. Dancers were Hirakawa, Ashley McLendon, Olivia Morales, and Renee Paquin.
The night's festivities ended with an international fashion show, coordinated by Hope Glover and Ladina Ng'alla. Displayed were clothing styles from twenty-three countries. Thirty-four models participated.
Glover said, "The models were so enthusiastic and easy to work with. I really enjoyed doing it this year. I also coordinated the fashion show for culture night my freshman year, and this being my senior year, I put a lot more time into it."
She continued: "Most of the costumes were the students' that they had bought in each of these countries. For instance, when I was in Ecuador and Brazil last year I picked up the costumes that a few of the models wore. They either wore their own costume or provided one for another model to wear. Professor Shivers and Professor Sherbondy gave costumes from Mexico, Guatemala, and Hawaii."
Model Simone Girodet commented on her experience in Hawaiian costume: "I had a really good time, and I was glad I could do it this year. The night has been a lot of fun."
IRC president Tracey Renfro commented, "I am so proud of all of the members of the International Relations Club. There are almost 200 members in IRC, and Culture Night is a time where truly almost every person contributes something! The dinner was delicious, and the performers all did a wonderful job helping to make the whole night go very smoothly. It was definitely worth the many dedicated hours that everyone put into it."
Renfro finished by saying, "IRC has been very active throughout the whole school year, and Culture Night is a time when we get to share our origins with everyone, whether they be European, Hispanic, Asian, African, or American!"