SIU’s International Festival Talent Show: Showcase of Gifts from around the World
April 18, 2021
Students gathered to share who they are by showcasing the most unique expressions of their cultures from around the world.
The International Festival has many events, one of which is a talent show featuring SIU’s most talented international students. This year, the event was held virtually Friday, April 9, 2021, allowing students to submit their entries by video or perform them live on Zoom. The range of talent was vast. So was the diversity of participants who came from countries in Latin America to Bangladesh to China.
The talent show was organized by The International Student Council (ISC) and the Center for International Education (CIE) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Many of the students who participated were from one of these organizations.
Gloria Inés Orozco Dorado performed a duet with Nico Sánchez-Barberán playing Bolero, a musical genre from Spain.
“To share our culture and our music is important to us because it’s part of our heart that we can with other people,” Sánchez-Barberán said. The duo won second place for their performance.
Joel Kottman, a senior at SIU and talent show participant from Georgia. Kottman read a piece called The Angry Ladybug and the Very Polite Spider by Cathy Kramer. Kottman is currently riding out the pandemic at his grandparent’s house in Georgia and expects to return to Carbondale in June.
A virtual talent show allowed for Kottman to participate.
“I think that having a virtual talent show was a great idea, but I’d hoped it could be in-person. Maybe next year if it is, I can participate in-person,” Kottman said.
Daniel Rodríguez won first place in the talent show, creating a music video along with the Latin American Student Association. Rodríguez is the president of the association and created it to showcase students from Columbia, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela and El Salvador. Rodríguez has participated in the talent show for the past three years, doing dance performances when the event was in person.
In addition to showcasing their cultures and talents, participants used the talent show as a means of self-expression. Ashley Zhao sang a worship song, Neng Bu Neng, in Mandarin, translating to Can I Stay.
“Christians in China are kind of marginalized, but being Christian and being Chinese are both significantly important identities to me,” Zhao said.
Staff photographer Chris Bishop can be reached at [email protected], or on Instagram at @quippedmediallc.