UC Merced to highlight artistic talent next week

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comFebruary 28, 2013 

— The broad spectrum of talent represented at UC Merced will take center stage next weekend at the Merced Theatre, as students from the school present their first annual Music and Arts Festival.

Doors for the event open at 7 p.m. March 9. Admission is free for all students, and $15 for the general public. All proceeds from the event will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Merced County.

Sponsored by UC Merced's Jazz and Combo Club, the two-hour event will include performances by the myriad of campus clubs and cultural groups. The performances range from hip-hop style dancing, to Taiko drumming, Brazilian capoeira, Indian dancers, Hmong dancers, jazz and more.

Matomi Butler, one of the co-organizers of the event, said the it is a celebration of the spectrum of cultural experiences at the school. "It's one of the first events that promotes the diversity of cultures and all the clubs that are on campus," Butler said.

Groups performing in the event include UC Merced Jazz and Combo Club, UC Merced Ohana (a Hawaiian dance group), UC Merced Dance Coalition (a modern dance group), the UC Merced Hip-Hop Movement, Yamaduki Taiko, Mariachi Band, Ballet Folklorico, MAC Demo (Brazilian capoeira), Saxophonist Abram Lopez and much more.

Butler said the event isn't restricted to artists who are students at UC Merced. For example. Butler said several Art Hop artists will be displaying their works in the lobby during the event. "We wanted to open it up to everyone," Butler said.

Henrik Hansen, a music instructor who lectures at UC Merced, said he's very impressed with the students who've spearheaded the event. He added that it's a great opportunity for the young artists and musicians to perform on a bigger stage.

"We hope it is something that will grow for the campus and community." Hansen said.

The Merced Theatre is at 301 W. Main St. in downtown Merced.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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