March 16 Cultural Celebration - Central America IX

Well, the big weekend finally arrived. We got to the site of the cultural celebration a couple of hours early. Seats were assigned for visiting guests in the middle of the stands and we somehow wrangled some of those tickets. The rumors of "standing room only" and "get there early or else" turned out to be overstated. There were plenty of seats and the lines were long, but they only initially filled a portion of the stadium. Over the next 2 hours, the seats slowly filled, but even at the start of the extravaganza, there were still some seats left. The national television station decided to televise the event and I am sure there were some that decided to watch it that way. It was VERY warm.

The Ice Cream Vendors Taking Advantage of the
Lines Waiting to Enter
The Zavala's Waiting for the Show to Start

KT and Ruby Gonzalez
Seeing the Rodriguez Family From Villa de
San Francisco for the First Time in Ten Years
The show started with the ~4600 participants coming out in masse and pumping up the crowd. Then President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland came in with their wives and the crowd went nuts. There were also hundreds of youth involved in a huge card section behind the dance platform. It was quite the colorful sight. After an opening prayer, the dancers filed off the stage and the show began as the night got darker and the lights, color, strobes, and video screens more dramatic in the fading light.

Mike and KT in the Heat
The basic thrust of the show was a historical and gospel doctrine mixture done within the context of the history of Central America, using mainly dances and music that were familiar to the crowd. What it generated was a great deal of enthusiasm in the crowd, to the point where they were swaying and singing loudly in the stands. It probably didn't hurt that most of them were probably parents of the youth involved and had watched them practice these same dances for months. Each stake or district, and combinations of them, presented their own production and then quickly left the stage as another group entered. The logistics of the frequent changes were very well handled and the flow of the production was excellent. The ambiance of the show turned into something akin to a soccer match, very loud and participatory on the part of the crowd. However, at no time did it seem to me to cross the line to irreverent. It made it very enjoyable, in fact.

All in all, we thought it was excellent. The brochure they printed up was also very nice. I made the comment after to KR that this event demonstrated the maturing of the Church in Central America. Eleven years ago they could not have pulled this off. Even the San Lorenzo and Monjaras Districts had their own dance and did great. The Valle Verde District danced with the La Esperanza Stake. We were very pumped as we departed to our hotel.


Katie said...

Dad! I love reading all your updates on Honduras. It's fun to read it over again to spark some memories.

teguc1999 said...

The trip was one I will never forget.