#2 America’s // Nordic cultural evenings

Volunteers dealing sound and lights

Lucile and Magda working on mixers during the show – Photo Credit : Nam Le Cat Phuong

As a tradition, every 3 weeks, students from specifics areas in the world have the opportunity to share their culture, customs and heritage during one evening called “Cultural Evening”. These special evenings usually happen on Saturday night. The entire school is invited to the show, which represent a lot of work, stress, and great memories for every perfomers. Volunteers are always part of it, never mind their nationality, as a technical support with sound and lights.
Let’s recape the two first cultural evenings : America’s and Nordic.

I – The training with Angelo

Angelo, who’s the teacher dealing with video editing class for exemple, is usually the one who deals with sound and light system during events. But the school propose volunteers to learn how to do it, to add it as a new skill obtained during the EVS programme.
So the first thing before the show was to learn using a mixer, and to accomodate with all the material. Counting : 2 massive speakers, several (colourful) lights, a big power alimentation system, a mixer, microphones, mic stands, lights stands, setting the stage, bringing and configuring the projector, knowing all the cables and their utility… And what a thing! The school is well equipped, but as the show is taking place in the Big Hall, we need everytime to remove and set again all the material, considering some other classes and activities take place there.
So we can now pretend knowing how to basically use a mixer and also how to set the whole material for a show. It was such a challenge, but now I am personnely proud and very glad to say I can also do that for any future work or event.

II – The America’s Cultural Evening

American cultural evening - Joao

One of the bresilian student, Joao, playing the mystic guru of mother nature for the mexican scene

As the first one of the term, the America’s cultural evening was a kind of baptism for us. Plus, we experimented all the feelings linked to an unready show. Let me explain myself : american people represent more or less 1/4 of the term, including around twenty persons working on the show. Plus, many countries with differents cultures were represented : USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Honduras and Colombia. So they decided to split up the show on several sketches, one per country, and adding 2 sketches mixing nationalities.

American cultural evening - USA

Crazy birth scene of USA students

Individually, groups were more or less ready and knew what they had to do. The problem was the synchronization between each group. Means that on d-day, the show wasn’t finished – or ready at least – at all. We practiced all day from 11 am to 20 pm, the actual time of the begining of the show. We were improvising, without any script. But it was really stimulating to feel useful and part of this nice proposition.
Finally, the show went good. The task isn’t really difficult. America’s people proposed danses, artistics colourful performances, a beauty pageant revealing issues from countries represented instead of mensurations, videos, crazy sketches and open discussions about differences in America. It has been a real success.

American cultural evening - mexico

Colourful and artistic danse of mexican students

 

III. The Nordic Cultural Evening

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Danish girls presenting the well known “bike culture” in Denmark

As Nordic countries are fewer than american ones, there was also less students involved on this CE. As part of it this term, we can count : Denmark, Iceland and Finland, representing 9 students. It means we were expecting something easier or calmer at least. We were wrong. The preparation has been as messy as the american one, and we didn’t even had a big rehearsal because of the crashing of the wifi one hour before showtime.

Nordic cultural evening : party scene

Melvin, the finish guy, presenting a special danse during the party scene

So this second cultural evening was also full of stress and challenges, but it was still really fun to be a part of it. It has been really different than the american one : the maine difference was the use of a storyline. During one hour and a half, Gertrud, the anchor teacher, played a television presenter, for the NNC : the nordic television spreading atypical news. Nordic people used a lot of self-derision which drove a really funny show. One of the other difference was the use of space : while american used several stages around the school, which brought dynamism, nordics mainly stayed on the Big Hall stage.
We discovered a lot of things about Nordic culture as danses, the finish caring wife anual contest, birthday and biking traditions in Denmark, the claping culture and volcano presentation in Iceland, and so on. It has been an interesting journey, even more considering it was the hosting country representing its culture. I was very curious about it.

Nordic CE

Belgian vs. Japanese team fighting for the win during the caring wife contest

Be ready for the next Cultural Evening!

Lucile, 2018 spring term volunteer