Mustangs show off talents on stage

Leah Bryce

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Tharusha Wanigasekera, Mechanical Engineering Senior and Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland gesture to crowd after traditional dance.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones

A hush falls over the crowd of students as the stage light begins to shine on the choir lined up onstage. A quiet melody plays and the soft stream of the Sri Lankan national anthem graces the ears of the audience. As the anthem finishes, another, more familiar anthem begins to play and members of the audience join in singing The Star Spangled Banner, joining two cultures in a matter of minutes.

“This event was to get al the students together and bring all the cultures and all the diversity we have on MSU together,” Thrasha Wanigasekera, president of Sri Lankan Students Organization, said. “With different cultures, if people want to go and see and understand what cultures are around the world, this is a great opportunity to start things like that.”

The SLSO hosted Mustangs on Stage, a talent showcase, on March 25 in Akin Auditorium. Bringing together a multitude of cultural diversity, the acts consisted of tribal dances, a fashion show, solo artists and a sing-a-long with the Baptist Student Ministry. The Sri Lankan cultural dances and the Indian cultural dance were brought to campus from Maryland dancer Sandali Chandradasa. 

“I’ll just do it for fun, but I wasn’t very serious about it. I had a month to rehearse and prepare, but I am a mechanical engineering student, I work full time, I’m doing a EURECA project and I went to a couple conferences during that time, so I didn’t get to rehearse until the Friday before my dance,” mechanical engineering senior Israel Ezeodum said.

According to their webpage the SLSO’s purpose is to bring a cultural understanding to MSU. With about 22 members, the organization members try to create a sense of unity and a home for the Sri Lankan students on campus. Along with the SLSO, several faculty members helped organize the event, including mass communication instructor Sandra Grant. 

“Dr. Glean [international services director] was there on Saturday morning on the stage. He came to support the students and to advise them on how to organize the show,” Sali Azzouz, associate professor of engineering and the SLSO adviser, said. “His office picked up some of the expenses for Mustangs on Stage.”

Although hosted by the SLSO, many other cultures were represented in the talent show, including African, Arabic and Egyptian. Through each of them came the melting pot culture of America.

“It was definitely hard to teach them the choreography since it was mostly through FaceTime. Some had prior knowledge of dancing and some didn’t. They were amazing though, and learned the dancing pretty quickly,” Chandradasa said. “My favorite part was coming from such a large city and coming here and seeing such a diversity in such a small town.”

Sri Lanka

Wanigasekera shares his high school experiences from Sri Lankan to the audience.
Wanigasekera shares his high school experiences from Sri Lankan to the audience.
Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Able Olu-Jordan, computer science sophomore, gives the crowd a glimpse into the hip-hop culture with a rap.
Able Olu-Jordan, computer science sophomore, gives the crowd a glimpse into the hip-hop culture with a rap.
Denush Vidanapathirana, Theatre and Mass Communications Sophomore, dances alongside Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Denush Vidanapathirana, Theatre and Mass Communications Sophomore, dances alongside Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Tharusha Wanigasekera, Mechanical Engineering Senior and Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland gesture to crowd after traditional dance.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Tharusha Wanigasekera, Mechanical Engineering Senior and Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland gesture to crowd after traditional dance.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Sachi Weerasooriya, Physics and Math Junior dances in traditional wear.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Sachi Weerasooriya, Physics and Math Junior dances in traditional wear.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland dances in traditional wear.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones
Sandali Chandrasa, Biology Junior at the University of Maryland dances in traditional wear.Mustangs On Stage Talent Show hosted by Sri Lankan Students Organization at Akin Auditorium.March 25th.by Timothy Jones

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