Last Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the Discipleship Center Noche Bohemi was getting ready to start. Noche Bohemi was being put on for the second straight year. 70 students were in attendance.
Noche Bohemia was organized by EMU’s Language & Literature Department, specifically Spanish professors Adriana Rojas Campbell, Donald Clymer, and Carol Snell-Feikema. It was intended to be a night to celebrate Spanish culture and everything that EMU students had been learning in Spanish classes.
Don Clymer discussed the origin of the event. “The idea began last year when my drama class put on a one act play in Spanish, and we added a few other items to make it more interesting. We received so much positive feedback that we decided that it was a good idea to continue, even if we didn’t have a play to put on.” Clymer was also impressed with the turnout, noting that it almost tripled since last year.
Clymer also explained how important it is to give students with language majors and minors different opportunities. “We wanted to give them an opportunity not only to showcase their skills, but to connect their skills to the larger campus community as well as the local Hispanic population,” Clymer said. he students had a lot of fun participating, and we were again able to provide a variety of Spanish cultural acts: music, dance, poetry, fables, and fairy tales.”
The event started with a community singing of “De Colores,” or “Colored.” Next, Sophomore Kyle Storc, Sophomore Olivia Mast, and First-Year Meggan Garcia Sheridan put on the skit by Federico Garcia Lorca called “Romance de La Luna” or “Romance of the Moon.”
Students and faculty performed a total of 21 acts (not including the opening community singing of “De Colores” or the closing salsa dance). These included poetry readings, skits, songs, and dances, all in Spanish. Some acts were comical, others were meaningful, but all reflected and celebrated the Spanish language and culture.
“I am very grateful for the support of my Spanish colleagues Carol Snell-Feikema and Adriana Rojas Campbell, as well as my department chair, Vi Dutcher and the dean, Nancy Heisey. I am also grateful to the Phys. Plant people for set-up and to Marty King for technical assistance,” Clymer added.
The sixth act was a performance of the skit “La Cenicienta”, or “Cinderella.” The audience seemed to greatly enjoy the performance of this well-known tale in Spanish, as those who were not fluent in Spanish needed to rely on looking at the characters’ costumes and actions to determine who was who and what was going on.
Cinderella’s (played by First-Year Evelyn Argueta) transformation into being ready for the ball made the audience laugh. She spun in a circle and took off just the top layer of her clothing to show that she was then wearing a dressy shirt.
Junior Rachel Kennel played the “hada madrina,” or fairy godmother. The stepsisters (“hermanastras”), played by Sophomore Aliese Gingerich and Junior Krista Nyce, danced obnoxiously as if in a night club at the ball, which also entertained the audience a great deal. The “rey,” or prince (played by Senior Nels Åkerson) was accompanied by two “heraldos” or heralds (played by Sophomore Roberto Wingfield and Junior Alex Wynn) donned in dark sunglasses. When he was looking for Cinderella, the prince went to a few girls in the audience and attempted to see if Cinderella’s shoe fit them. Senior Hannah Clemmer played the “madrasta,” or stepmother, and Juniors Maria Martin and Melanie Sherer played the “narradoras,” or narrators.
Åkerson said, “This year was my first time to participate in La Noche Bohemia. I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of acts and the level of talent involved, particularly in the songs and dances. The preparation for the skits I participated in was simple; we practiced our skits multiple times in class periods prior to La Noche Bohemia, and when necessary, gave each other constructive feedback. The preparation helped make my participation more enjoyable as the skits challenged me to understand my cues in Spanish rather than in English.”
For the ninth act, Carol Snell- Feikema and Don Clymer sang a duet of the encouraging song “Nada Te Turbe,” or “Let Nothing Frighten You.” Snell-Feikema also accompanied their voices with the piano. One memorable line from the song was “Solo Dios basta,” or “God alone is enough.”
Language Assistant Clivia Avila and two “companeros,” or “partners,” performed a Honduran dance for the 16th act. The women wore long, flowy skirts, which they moved to the upbeat rhythm of the dance. The man had a cowboy hat on and swung the women around to the beat. The dancers were quite talented.
The 17th act was a reading of Jose’ Marti’s poem “Sueno Despierto” or “Daydream” by Senior Peter Labosh. It was an interesting poem about the spirit of dreaming, and how it can be present even during the day (manifested in daydreams).
Junior Louise Babikow stated, “The Noche Bohemia was very diverse and included insightful and fun songs, skits, and dances. I really enjoyed seeing other students use the Spanish that they’re learning in their classes. They all did a great job!”
-Monica Root, Staff Writer