Experience culture at Peace Arch State Park

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By Katelyn Doggett

The Peace Arch International Concert Series returns for its 10th year, providing the chance to experience a series of free, live music and dance performances from different cultures.

This year’s series runs every Sunday from August 2 to 23 at 2 p.m. at Peace Arch State Park. The one-hour concerts celebrate the diverse, international cultures of the Pacific Northwest with music and dance.

“This series provides an opportunity for Washingtonians to engage and learn about their cultural and artistic heritage,” said Debbie Fant, folk and traditional arts program coordinator for the Washington State Park and Recreation Commission.

People enjoy attending the concerts because it’s a free, local way to experience cultural events that they otherwise may never have the chance to see, Fant said.

All concerts are located on the U.S. side of Peace Arch State Park and are free to attend. Parking inside the state park requires a Discover Pass, which can be purchased at the park kiosk.

Kicking off this year’s series on August 2 are Quichua Mashis, who will perform traditional and current music of the Ecuadorean Andes Mountains. Their unique sound is created by traditional Andean instruments, such as zamponas (panpipe flutes), quenas (endblown flutes), bombos (drums), chakchas (rattles) and charangos (a small guitar-like instrument), accompanied by the guitar, bandolin and violin.

The music they will perform is meant to reflect their indigenous roots and bring peace to the audience.

On August 9, the Gansango Music and Dance Company will perform traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa. The multicultural group of international dancers and musicians based out of Seattle combines music, movement and stories from across the African continent. The performers draw from the traditions of Benin, Senegal and South Africa, among other countries.

Prepare for a mental trip to Hawaii on August 16, when the Halau Hula O Napualani dance troupe from Seattle perform traditional Hawaiian music and dance. Listen to the tropical sounds of the ukulele while watching hula dancers sway gracefully in their colorful costumes, performing Hawaiian hula, Tahitian dance and New Zealand Maori haka, an ancient war dance.

Dubbing themselves “Seattle’s non-marching march band,” the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band will perform the last concert of the series on August 23.

Dressed in colorful uniforms, the band plays classics from John Philip Sousa, Henry Fillmore and more.

Watch their set to enjoy some seated baton twirling from the world’s only sedentary majorette and hear a story or two about Sousa’s life.

The program is presented by the Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program, which is a partnership between the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Arts Commission and Northwest Heritage Resources.

For more information on the Peace Arch International Concert Series, visit the Peace Arch State Park website at peacearchpark.org.

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