The second week of Çudamani’s Arts Midwest World Fest tour brought us to Devils Lake, North Dakota. On route to Devils Lake, we stopped off in the small town of Leeds, ND to perform a workshop for an eager group of K-12 students. As I walked through the door, I was stopped by a young child who asked, “Are you here for the demonstration?” When I replied yes, the student exclaimed, “Yay! I am so excited to meet Çudamani!” This student’s sentiment would be echoed in every school we visited.
After our short stop in Leeds, the group traveled a few more miles to Devils Lake where we were welcomed by local host Kimberly Hatten of the Lake Region Arts Council. Through Kim’s coordination and the help of liaisons Sandi Lunde and Kristin Wood, Çudamani had the opportunity to visit nearly every school in the region—Devils Lake High School, Devils Lake Middle School, Lake Region State College, Minnie H Elementary School, Prairie View Elementary School, and Sweetwater Elementary School. In total, the group presented workshops to over 1,800 students from kindergarten through college!
On Wednesday evening, Çudamani gave a wonderful public performance at Lake Region State College. A local newspaper article and television news spot helped to spread the word that Çudamani was in town. As a result, many community members, families, teachers, and students were in attendance.
While the concert was a great success, the pinnacle moment of our week occurred on Saturday morning as we took part in the High School’s homecoming parade. The Balinese are no strangers to street processions so the group managed to fit right in, providing a unique accompaniment to myriad homecoming floats, farm tractors, and patrol cars parading through town. As Çudamani marched along the route, we waved our hellos and goodbyes to everyone we had met throughout the week. It was a perfect ending to our short but sweet visit to North Dakota.
By Philip Graulty