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Local events celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 18, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Several events are taking place at Western Michigan University and in the Kalamazoo community in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, a national observance that runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and recognizes Hispanic culture and contributions to American society.

This year's main event will be the Kalamazoo Hispanic-American Heritage Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds. The festival will feature Latin music, folkloric dances, food, crafts and contests as well as activities for families and children.

The event is being co-sponsored by the WMU Division of Multicultural Affairs, the Hispanic American Council of Kalamazoo and several local businesses. Admission to the festival is free, and more information is available by calling (269) 385-6279.

Coming up Tuesday, Sept. 18, will be a free campus performance by Orquesta Sensacional from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage of the Bronco Mall on the ground floor of the Bernhard Center. The performance will focus on music from the Caribbean Islands, including reggae and salsa merengue.

Orquesta Sensacional consists of musicians from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico who are living in Grand Rapids and Detroit. Its performance is being co-sponsored by the DMA, Student Entertainment Team and Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority at WMU. Visit www.orqasens.com for more information about the band.

WMU kicked off its campus events for Hispanic Heritage Month with a Mexican-American art exhibit that is running from Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 30. Available for view in two of the display cases on the first floor of the Bernhard Center are a collection of paintings and sculptures by Eva Narcissa Martinez.

Martinez is a Mexican-American artist from Grand Rapids, Mich., and a graduate of the Kendall School of Art. Her work revolves around her experience growing up as a daughter of a migrant family living in Fennville, Mich.

WMU will wrap up the month-long Hispanic heritage celebration with a presentation on "Teaching Diversity Through Music" from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in Room 210 Bernhard Center. Local musicians Rene Meave and Guillermo Martinez will perform and give a talk about the influence of Mexican-American music.

Both of the presenters are vocalists for the local group Los Bandits. Their life story was made into a documentary film called "Los Bandits: More Than a Tex-Mex Band," which aired on Public Broadcasting Service stations around the country last year.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400