This April, the Asian-American Pacific Islander community held a closing ceremony gala— fancy dress and all— for the first time in many years. Taking place on the ground floor of the UMMA, it was an absolutely gorgeous way to end Heritage Month’s dedicated annual work.
Faculty, staff, and students gathered around tables with a fairy light centerpiece as they honored leaders in the A/PIA community. Multiple awards were given— from lifetime achievements to who had the best Instagram aesthetic— all voted on by students.
The group performances were also lovely. rXn was one of these groups– it is a Chinese Student Association multicultural dance group that performs both hip-hop and traditional Chinese dances. With grace and enthusiasm, they were a fantastic display to see during this celebration of cultural organizations.
Seoul Juice was also present. They are a cover band that mixes pop music with acoustic instruments in a mashup of Korean and American styles. “With this, Seoul Juice strives to celebrate Korean culture and have a good time united with other musicians,” their webpage states. They are affiliated with Michigan’s Korean Student Association.
My favorite performance was their cover of “Lost in Japan”, a newer Shawn Mendes song. The singers and musicians made the piece their own— a song already filled with enough finality and longing to make the seniors in the room a little teary-eyed. (My emotional impulses were already kind of high— I’m graduating, leave me alone.)
The entire evening reminded me of the hard work that organizations on campus put into their craft and their love for community building. I cannot wait to see this tradition continue in the future and I hope that everyone in the area can find a way to support student artists.