…by Anura Guruge
1/ Laconia Multicultural Day September 8, 2012: Finally Found The Program … Sept. 7, 2012.
2/ Updates: Laconia Multicultural Day September 8 & NH Highland Games …, 2012 — Sept. 5, 2012.
3/ Laconia Multicultural Day, NH, September 8, 2012— August 18, 2012.
They never did put the program on their Web site.
That is a cardinal, inexcusable sin.
Well done Laconia. Well done organizing committee — you pulled it off again. Thank YOU. Bravo. It is so good to have this in Laconia. It makes me so happy.
In 1999, I had, on business, to meet with a high-flying networking Sales Lady in Meredith, at the ‘Inn on the Bay’. She lived in Center Harbor. She worked for one of the top tier networking companies of the time, flying around the country from Manchester or Logan. She brought her two daughters, 6 & 4 (with a nanny). Afterwards she told me that I was the first non-white person her kids had ever seen! That was 1999.
People don’t believe me but I can go for a week in Alton without ever seeing a non-white person. So having this celebration of diversity once a year, in the very diverse Laconia, is indeed a treat, a treasure and joy. Thank you again, Laconia.
My REPORT CARD for 2012
(as somebody who has attended each and everyone of the Laconia Multicultural Days).
For just doing it: A+
Overall Experience today: A
Organization: C, and that only because in my opinion publicity and the Web site let the side down badly (and I am not sure whether they even did any social media marketing).
Event Programming: B-. I understand that they have to cut their suit according to their cloth and that the budget has to be tight. Having the event fizzle out at 4pm (most having left earlier) is anticlimactic. In the early days we had an evening concert and they used to be a blast. I remember a Reggae group. We have their CD downstairs. We rocked into the night. A 4pm finish is way too early. Plus, this years selection of performers was OK but not great. I think we had at least a 50% repetition from the last few years; we having seen that same Indian Dance troupe and the Burundi Drummers before. [My initial claim that we might have seen these last year might be erroneous though the wife and the kids think that the Burundi Drummers were there last year. Might have been the year before. If I was wrong, I am sorry; old age.] While writing this I also realized that the customary martial arts segment was missing. Overall it felt a tad flaccid and tired. It sure wasn’t HopFest 2012 — BUT as I said with HopFest, that was Dartmouth and they rarely put a foot wrong.
Weather: B+. No rain! Blustery and more than one tent looked like it would blow away. But, the sun shone.
Crowds: C. Wasn’t bad, especially given the ‘iffy’ weather forecast. About the same as last year, though the bulk of the crowds were there between 2 and 3. Around noon it was still quiet. By 4 most of the audience was gone. Always amazes me as to who is not there! There is some palpable snobbishness, but that is OK. Also, understandably, more Democrat politicians running for office pressing the flesh, as opposed to their rivals from the other party who probably don’t feel that this is their demography. Got a chance to talk with Andrew Hosmer who is running for NH Senate. First time I have met him. Very nice guy. Nice family. I was impressed. I hope he wins. Though this was not a Granite State Ambassador (GSA) event, I went in uniform and even wore my badge. Two people who have known me for years exclaimed that they had not realized I was a GSA; this being the first time I had worn my insignia to the event.
Web site: F-. That it was last updated on July 29 is a crime. Get with it Laconia, this is 2012.
Sound: C, and for the first time in my experience sound quality was variable and in some instances, especially for poor ‘Cinder Conk’ downright poor. Yes, we had swirling, near gale force winds which didn’t help. I know the 2 guys who do the sound. Nicest people in the world. Yes, I went and spoke to them 3 times. I have always, prior to today, said that they do a better job than those at the Highland Games who always stumble about as if they have never done it before. A rare miss and I am sure we will be back to ‘A+’ next year.
Food Selection: A. I think there were even more vendors, and other than ‘China Bistro’ that had jacked up their prices, the other prices were compelling. Thank you.
Bible Tents: D. Way too many. Somebody told me that they shouldn’t be there. I don’t agree. It is multicultural and religion is a part of that though more diversity would have been more in tune. Maybe they should strive to get more eclectically in these ‘in your face‘ tents — though of course, we had a Jewish, Turkish and Nepali food tents.
Printed Program: C. Par for the course. Nothing special. When we got there at noon I couldn’t find anybody handing them out. I went looking for some and came back with a handful that I gave to people. Why couldn’t this be online as a PDF?
The Performances We Saw
Cinder Conk (Baltic Sea): B. They performed out of sequence at noon because the Burundi Drummers were having car trouble and were late. That was very good of them to step in. Bravo. Just three of them; could have been father and two daughters. Talented musicians and they played some Romani music to which I am very partial. They were, however, low key, low tempo, low energy. They did not have me or the crowd up and hopping. It was very pleasant, soothing chamber music; elevator music with lyrics. That they had the prime noon spot, by accident, did not help them. The sound system did them a grave injustice. I spoke to my two buddies in the sound tent. It all had to do with Cinder Conk being all acoustic. Cranking up the sound resulted in unacceptable feedback on the speakers. They tried. The performers complained — albeit not realizing that they were not being heard towards the back. I would love to have them play at a restaurant. They said they specialize in ‘life events’: weddings, christenings, birthdays etc. They will be excellent for that.
NH Burundi Drummers and Dancers: A-. They certainly energized and entertained the crowd. The kids were enthralled, especially since they had a few very cute, very young dancers. Their high tempo percussion forces you to tap your feet. They were, as ever, fun. I think they felt and looked distracted; car troubles trying to get to a gig can easily do that. I am glad they made it. I am glad we got to hear and see them.
Classical Indian Dance: A+. They have been doing this for a few years now and it gets better each year. Though not Indian, I was very proud and delighted to see the dancing. I have, having spent a lot of time in India, seen a lot of Indian dancing in India. This was good. The crowd appreciated it. A couple of men, thinking that I am Indian, complimented ME on the dancing. Bravo. It would be great if we could have some live Indian musicians to accompany these dancers next year.
RasMoon & Monsoon: B-. I love Reggae and so do the kids. They were good BUT they were no monsoon; more like a Spring shower. Yes, they had some on the floor dancing, but it lacked punch and a compelling beat. Yes, the sound system let them down too. As with all the performances, I walked right up to listen to them close and get some pictures. They sounded better at the back of the bandstand than at the front. That they failed to keep their audience till the end says its own story. A friend who was with us said that people left because it was too loud for them — and that made me feel guilty because I was urging the sound folks to crank it up. But, Reggae isn’t parlor music. It is supposed to be loud, boisterous and exuberant.
As far as we could tell, and we didn’t leave till about 4:20 (because I was chatting with ‘Dem Pols’), there was no Closing Ceremony though there was supposed to be one. That kind of summed up the day, but I am not complaining. It was a good day.