Charmaine Lim, SBM Culture Editor

The first International Gala proved to be a success as crowds of people gathered in Brubaker Auditorium for dinner and Parmer Hall for performances.

“Our theme was manifested in ways that we didn’t anticipate,” Tabitha Adel, President of ISA/MuKappa, said.

The night began with a catered dinner in Brubaker, where the menu was influenced by Latin America. Smells of cheesy tamales, roasted potatoes and chicken combined with a live piano performance from senior biology major Vinh Le made for a memorable beginning to the evening.

After dinner, attendees were asked to make their way to Parmer Hall for the performance portion of the evening. Opening the performances was a flag procession featuring several of the international countries currently represented on campus. While the flag bearers made their way on stage, a live band performed three songs themed around unity, love and support. The end of the flag procession transitioned the evening to student performers celebrating examples of their culture.

Ethiopian and Eritrean dance

“Seeing how Parmer Hall was so beautiful with the flags and how this is a space that so many people use, but for that night it was ours,” Adel said. “It was really nice to be able to use one of the most beautiful buildings on campus to celebrate something that is not only historic, but not done often.”

Perhaps one of the most memorable performances of the night was a spoken word by Symone James, a freshman international business major. Titled “Cocoa Brown Skin,” the performance was an intimate look at the struggles James had in learning to love her skin color.

Symone Jones performs her spoken word poem “Cocoa brown skin.”

Several recurring acts during the night included the Desi Girls, the Malaysian performance and the West African performance. Each group brought their unique cultural elements to the performance and showcased the joy the performers had in sharing pieces of home with the audience.

Ending the night of performances with a fashion show, seventeen students walked across the stage to show off their cultural attire. Cheers from the audience could be heard clearly as students posed in the middle of the stage.

Malaysian student Charmaine Chan poses during the fashion show.

Seniors were invited on stage to celebrate the coming end of their time at Messiah and the legacy each of them had left.

After the performances ended, attendees were encouraged to visit the art gallery, made up of work submitted by students on campus. Desserts from a variety of cultures were available throughout the High Center for people who wanted to snack while looking at the art exhibits. Placards from the R.H. Flowers memorial were brought back to acknowledge previous international students who had made their mark or been important members of Messiah during their time here.

“Considering that it was the first time we did the reception, I have been trying gather feedback of how people have been enjoying [it],” Ines Yoon, Vice-President of ISAMuKappa, said. “I have only received positive feedback.”

The 2019 International Gala may have been the first of its kind here, but it has truly left a legacy for future students to enjoy.

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