The tastes and sounds of cultures from around the globe will be in the spotlight during the second annual World Music & Cuisine Festival, from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 11, in Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom.
International students, faculty and staff will prepare their native dishes, while a variety of musical groups perform. Food portions will be sold for $1 each.
“This was easily our most popular event last year,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies. “Anytime you can combine international food and music, you’re going to attract a big crowd.”
Faculty and staff preparing food include Achala Tiwari (English and philosophy), Indian butter chicken; Jency Sundararajan (chemical and physical sciences), Indian rava kesari; Rubén Galve Rivera (foreign languages), tortilla Española; Susana Liso (foreign languages), ensaladilla rusa; Linda Peterson (athletics), Canadian Nanaimo bars; Hong Li (library), Chinese sesame buns, Oriental jelly and cookies; Diana Heim (International English Program), Chinese pot-stickers; and Amila Appuhamy (mathematics), Sri Lankan tuna buns.
Community members and three local restaurants – M&M Bistro, Roswitha’s Schnitzelbank and Festival Mexican – will also participate.
Kufara, an African marimba band that features MSSU faculty members Ree Wells-Lewis (social science) and Joy Dworkin (English and philosophy), will kick off the entertainment at 5 p.m.
Kufara, which means “to be joyous,” originated from an African dance class taught in Joplin by Kyla Jones from Seattle. In 1998, several members of Jones’ dance class took the leap from dancing to playing musical instruments, including both the marimba and mbira.
Mariachi Amistad, playing authentic and traditional pieces of festive mariachi music, will take the stage at 6 p.m. Director Ruben Perez has been playing mariachi music for 29 years, including 14 years in Northwest Arkansas. Now joined by his children – Jacob and Sophia Perez – along with up to nine other musicians from the surrounding area, the group’s musical instrumentation includes trumpets, guitars, violins, flutes, guitarron and vihuela.
Mach Schnell Blaskapelle (“Go Fast Band”), a German polka band from Tulsa, Okla., will perform at 7 p.m. The group was formed in 2013 from members of the GAST Blaskapelle of the German American Society of Tulsa. Mach Schnell has performed at Tulsa’s Oktoberfest, which is considered by many to be the best Oktoberfest outside of Germany. Attendees will be swept away to old Bavaria with Mach Schnell’s authentic German music performed in authentic attire.
MSSU’s Steel Pan Lions and the Bartlesville (Okla.) High School Steel Drum Band will close out the entertainment from 8 to 9 p.m. The Steel Pan Lions, who made their debut at the first World Music & Cuisine Festival in 2014, were formed by director Brian Fronzaglia (music) to provide percussion students with a unique learning/performing opportunity.
Co-sponsored by the MSSU International Club, the World Music & Cuisine Festival is a fundraiser for MSSU international students. Lora Zaidarhzauva, international admissions coordinator, will serve as emcee.