15th Annual MultiCultural Celebration in Shasta Lake
● By Katie Weatherly
By Katie Weatherly
For the past 15 years, the North State has hosted a multicultural celebration at Central Valley High School. As the years have passed, this celebration of diversity has continued to expand and has become an integral part of the area.
This year, the committee wanted to do something special for those who continue to participate annually, according to committee members Don Yost and Lee Macey. Thinking it would be fun to bring in past performers for the 15th celebration, efforts were made to reach out to previous performers, only to find that the children contacted were now away at college, Yost says. After that discovery, the committee decided on a different highlight for the celebration. “This year, we’ll give everybody a rest and give a free community concert,” Macey says.
As a special part of the 2018 multicultural celebration, Shasta County will welcome the Matsiko World Orphan Choir. Founded in 2008, the choir features 21 children from Liberia, India and Peru. Macey and Yost say previous performances by the Matsiko Orphan Choir have been energetic, engaging and fun.
Originally, the choir's children were from Peru and Liberia. In 2017, children from India were given the opportunity to join in. The choir allows the children to share songs and dances from their various traditional cultures, a unique characteristic that makes the choir the perfect addition to the multitude of performances typical of the multicultural celebration. “They all bring so much to the table and bring so much culture to Shasta County,” Yost says. “There is more diversity than meets the eye.”
The popular annual event was sparked in March 2003 when the Mien community wanted to thank the Shasta Lake City community for welcoming them. In turn, the Shasta Lake City community wanted to share cultures with the Mien community. A committee of residents and organizations within the city and the Gateway Unified School District convened to plan an annual celebration of cultures. The school district has been the event’s major support and sponsor
since its inception.
The tradition seeks to promote cultural recognition and respect, and the celebration traditionally begins with a grand entrance of flags from various countries. “We try to have exchange students from local high schools carrying in their country’s flags,” Yost says.
Aside from the choir, the event features local representations of different cultures present in the area, including Hispanic dancers, Sikh martial arts and Native American performances, among others. And although the event continues to grow, there is no admission charge for attendance, though donations are accepted. “We get support from local businesses,” Macey says.
On top of all that, a luncheon is provided and all are welcome.
15th Annual Multicultural Celebration
Jan. 20, 11 am Central Valley High School