“Noche Bohemia:” A Celebration of Culture and Art

Sophomore Priyanka Chavan and First-Year Karina Guzman wearing traditional Indian dress.

Sophomore Priyanka Chavan and First-Year Karina Guzman wearing traditional Indian dress.

EMU’s Language and Literature Department had their annual Noche Bohemia in Martin Chapel on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Students in all EMU Spanish courses, other Spanish-loving students, community members, and EMU professors gathered together to share and express poems, dances, cultural clothing, songs, dramas, and even critiques of Hispanic artwork.

Adriana Campbell, a professor at EMU who teaches many Spanish courses and is helping to expand EMU’s Spanish program, was the master of ceremonies for the cultural event.

Campbell helped to organize Noche Bohemia with professors Don Clymer, María Esther Showalter, and the language assistants, Jolaika Doerksen and Priscilla Montero.

Campbell and her colleagues have been working diligently to create a language community at EMU through Noche Bohemia, the tertulias, and the film series that takes place each year at EMU. Campbell commented, “Noche Bohemia showcases the creativity and language skills of our students in a fun and supportive environment.”

The night started off with the Elementary Spanish 1 classes sharing fashion styles from army, to sports, to casual dress, and ended with different country’s custom dress styles.

As the night went on, students read their own and other artists’ poetry. Senior Abigail Carr shared a poem she wrote when she was in Colombia called “Salgo de Lamentación.” While she was visiting the country, a native speaker helped to translate her English poem to Spanish. Other works by Pablo Neruda, Rosario Castellanos, and Gabriela Mistral were read.

After this, Sophomore Meggan E. García Sheridan, sang “Esta Vez” by Julieta Venegas. Sheridan performed the whole song a capella. Sophomore Giulio Garner played the piano and sang “Merecedor de Alabanza” which translates to “worthy of praise.” Senior Erin Freeman also played a piece on the piano titled “Tango español.”

Freeman commented that, “generally, the atmosphere was encouraging and lighthearted. I don’t like performing piano, but this was one of the less stressful performances I’ve had. I was also encouraged when I realized that I was not translating in my head but just listening and understanding.”

Two groups also performed renditions of songs, including “Corre” by Jesse and Joy and “De Colores.” The audience joined in with singing and clapping to the two songs as the performers engaged them.

Student groups shared comedic dramas that showed different scenes on a train, watching television, and even quick history lessons of the Spanish culture. Junior Emily Shenk’s explanation of Pablo Picasso’s piece “Guernica” cannot be forgotten, as it gave us some insight into the life of Picasso and others who have visited his art displays.

The ending act of Noche Bohemia, performed by Celeste Díaz and Pablo Cesar Cruz, was the “Baile Folklórico Paraguayo,” which, in English, is the “Paraguay Folklore Dance.” The couple was dressed to a cultural T, and even when the music would not load on the Internet, the crowd cheered and clapped with the couple to finish their dance.

“The performances were wonderful,” said Campbell. “I was proud to see our students display their talents and speak Spanish. I think some of the students were a bit reluctant at first, but after they performed they seemed excited about planning for next year.”

The Language and Literature Department is looking to cater to and involve the broader Harrisonburg Hispanic and Latino community for next year’s Noche Bohemia.

“In my culture, the host takes care of others by sharing food with his or her guests. It also would be lovely to reach out to community members who can share songs, dance, and other cultural knowledge with the blossoming EMU Spanish language community,” explains Campbell.

-Alicia Calkins, Art Editor


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