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Arts World Fest in DL

Cudamani will showcase the music, colorful dances and culture of Bali during a weeklong artist residency in Detroit Lakes, culminating with a Thursday, Oct. 4 performance at the Historic Holmes Theatre. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Submitted Photo

In the decade since its inception, the Arts Midwest World Fest program has brought musicians, singers and dancers from across the globe into a growing number of Midwestern communities.

Detroit Lakes is one of them.

The community is about to begin its second year as a World Fest host community, with the arrival of the Cudamani song and dance troupe from Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Last year, the program brought Egyptian band Wust el Balad and Israeli artists Yamma Ensemble to Detroit Lakes.

During their visits, World Fest artists have done much more than just perform high quality music -- they have also become educators and cultural ambassadors for their home countries.

"This is the criteria we use to select the (World Fest) ensembles," said Ken Carlson, senior program director for Arts Midwest World Fest, in a telephone interview.

"They must be high quality musicians, to best represent the music and artistry of their culture.

"We also want groups that are really committed to education. The concert they do is only a small part of the week (the World Fest performers spend a week in each host community doing workshops and other outreach activities).

"And these groups really have to be willing to take on and accept the ambassadorial role that they play. They are representing their country, their culture, and our program."

For most of those coming to a World Fest show or taking part in one of the artist workshops, it will be their first time meeting someone from that particular culture -- "and all of us want those first connections to be good ones," Carlson said.

Arts Midwest executive director David Fraher spelled out the program's mission in a recent press release.

"Our goal is to make lasting impressions on the communities that host Arts Midwest World Fest," he said. "Our musicians do not simply perform one evening and leave. Rather, they conduct extensive residencies, where they perform in schools and in a variety of community venues. They conduct dozens of workshops about their culture, music and language. We want this to be a rich experience for the full community."

"It's not common for any Midwestern communities to host ensembles from Indonesia," said Holmes Theatre Executive Director Amy Stearns. "The music and dance Çudamani shares will be absolutely fascinating and different from what we typically hear. 

"The ensemble will be in Detroit Lakes for a full week and we expect this residency will be a delightful experience for our entire community."

There will be multiple opportunities for Detroit Lakes area residents of all ages to experience Balinese culture and music next week.

The 16 members of Cudamani will be making visits to SJE Rhombus (local Arts Midwest World Fest sponsor), the Circle of Life Academy in White Earth, and the new Lake Park-Audubon High School in Lake Park, as well as the Detroit Lakes Middle School and DL Public Library, for a series of workshops that combine performance and education. They will also be doing a workshop at the Historic Holmes Theatre with elementary students from Rossman, Roosevelt and Holy Rosary schools in Detroit Lakes.

"These outreach programs are more education-based," explained Becky Mitchell, outreach program coordinator for the Historic Holmes Theatre. "It's not like the performances here (at the theater). These workshops are usually much more informative. The musicians and dancers talk about their instruments, their costumes, their music, and there re opportunities for questions. It's a true cultural exchange."

There is also usually a brief performance at each outreach workshop -- but the main purpose of this is to "pique their interest," so the listeners will buy tickets to the main show in the theater later that week.

Cudamani will be performing on the main stage at the Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for students, and can be purchased online at, by calling 218-844-7469 or by visiting the Holmes Theatre Box Office at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454