It is not every day that a renowned music group comes to perform at a small college such as Bethel. But yesterday as I was walking through the Fine Arts Center on campus I heard the most amazing sounds of brass instruments warming up in the wings of Krehbiel Auditorium. So I stopped what I was doing and sat down in one of the cushy theater seats towards the back of the room.
Culture consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, taboos, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, ceremonies and symbols.
One aspect that comes to my mind when thinking about culture is food. Countries have specific kinds of food, different ways of preparing meals and different eating habits. There are specific meals for different countries by names of restaurants, for example. There are Asian restaurants, Mexican food seems to be pretty popular in the U.S. and there is even a German restaurant, Imbiss, in Wichita. At the German Imbiss you can get meals called “Bratwurst,” “Kartoffelsalat,” “Sauerkraut” and “Wienerschnitzel” (a German dish, although it is named after Austria’s capital).
If you have ever experienced Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, then you no doubt recall the role of the “First Priest.” The First Priest’s memorable (and only) line, “He is virtuous?” helps to set the tone for Act II, and his several other appearances as an escort for the “lead” characters and a member of the chorus of priests make the role especially important to the overall plot of the show. Fortunately, as a member of the 2008 cast of The Magic Flute at Bethel this week, I am up to the challenge.
(Removes tongue from cheek.)
Probably every U.S. citizen has heard a lot about Mexico, about immigration and about issues caused by illegal Mexican workers in the U.S. A lot of people in the U.S. are of the opinion that there “is a problem” with illegal Mexican workers and with Mexicans who immigrate into the U.S. But only few people know about the problems Mexicans have to face when they want to enter the U.S., either as legal or illegal immigrants. The book “Crossing Over” by Ruben Martinez gives the reader a first idea about how difficult it is to cross the border. Furthermore, the book describes a family tragedy, because it tells the story of a poor Mexican family who lost three family members who tried to travel into the U.S. as illegal workers.
When asked what their favorite convocations of the year are, most students would say either the Academy Award Shorts or the Forensics Road Show. Sadly, both of these loved convocations are absent from the schedule this spring.
While I adore the Academy Award Shorts, I have more to say about the disappearance of the Forensics Road Show.
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