Submitted by Bedford Embraces Diversity
The event is planned for Sunday, May 15, from noon to 4 p.m., beginning with parade of flags through the town campus and continuing in the Bedford High School gymnasium and auditorium.
Bedford Embraces Diversity is the sponsor of the Multicultural Festival. The group and its activities represent Bedford’s affirmative response to local incidents of anti-Semitism, and racism. Organizers feel that the upcoming celebration of diversity is especially timely as the nation grapples with episodes of intolerance.
The parade of flags, emblematic of the many nationalities that comprise the local population, opened last year’s festival. This year the parade will start at the Town Center building and proceed along Mudge Way to the high school. (In case of rain the parade will take place in the BHS gym.)
The energetic and global percussion sounds of aNova Brazil will lead the parade and then help open the festivities in the gymnasium.
This drumming and tropical dancing ensemble performs throughout the region, familiarizing children with rhythms and dances originating from Brazil. aNova Brazil melds hip-Hop, Afro, Samba, and Taiko drumming into its performance.
Also on the afternoon’s agenda is the Chinese Dulcimer and Guzheng Youth Band, a unique ensemble led by Ping Li, former principal dulcimer player of the China Central Orchestra for Traditional Music. Ms. Li, founder and president of the Boston Art School for Chinese Music, said 10 musicians — including Bedford residents Erica Wang and Kevin Chen — will perform on the dulcimer, which has about 150 strings, as well as the guzheng, a plucked stringed instrument.
Another highlight will be two free workshops offered by local dance teachers Jennifer Buckley and Nancy Griffiths. Their students from GrooveWrx, Kamate KidsJam and the Lane Mighty Squad Dance Crew will encourage everyone to celebrate multi-cultural dance with them. The hip-hop workshop for kids and a session on Latin dance for all ages.
Also performing will be the Lexington-based Temple Isaiah Klezmer Band, featuring traditional and new songs from Eastern Europe, Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere. A rich combination of instruments, including clarinet and violin, produces joyous music for listening and dancing.
Bedford’s Claudia Fox Tree will present her troupe of Native American drummers for the second consecutive festival.
Fox Tree is a multiracial/multiethnic Native American who has also taught anti-racism and multicultural education courses to teachers, school staff, and at the college level for more than 25 years. She also is a veteran special education teacher and a member of the board of the Massachusetts Center for Native Americans.
Other performers will include dancers from the Armenian tradition and vocal presentations by choruses from BHS and Davis School. There will also be a martial arts demonstration by students of Callahan’s Karate Studio. The festival lineup also includes ethnic foods and more than a dozen heritage tables.
Major sponsors of the 2016 Multicultural Festival include the Social Responsibility Council at First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist; Higgins Group Realtors; MITRE Corp; and Middlesex Community College. The event also has accepted significant grants from the Bedford Cultural Council; and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
About Bedford Embraces Diversity
Bedford Embraces Diversity’s mission is to educate the Bedford community about the diverse groups that make up its complexion and population as well as to celebrate the differences these cultures bring to our community. Echoing the values of the our community, the organization strongly advocates for the respectful treatment of every Bedford resident, student and employee, and denounces all acts of bullying, hate and violence towards any individual or group with differences such as racial, religious, cultural, military, or LGBT status.
More information is available at www.bedfordembracesdiversity.com and https://www.facebook.com/bedfordembracesdiversity .