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FMU to host Pee Dee International Festival, Oct. 21

    FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University will play host to the 14th-annual Pee Dee International Festival, Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    The purpose of the festival, which is free and open to the public, is to foster a better understanding of the cultures represented in the Pee Dee and increase appreciation for the global community. The event will feature music, dance, food booths, cultural displays and activities for children. The festival will be held rain or shine.

    This year’s festival will feature Brasil Brazil. Offering the best-known standards of classic and contemporary Brazilian jazz, Ana Gazzola, Sonia Santos and their five-piece band perform musical arrangements that present all the rhymes and faces of this colorful and tropical culture. With some of the best musicians from the north and south of Brazil performing on a variety of unique, authentic instruments, audiences are both entertained and educated about this South American country. Based in Los Angeles since 1991, Brasil Brazil has toured to many of this country’s top festivals and venues. This energetic, dynamic and jubilant duo entertains with the best of Brazilian jazz. The group will perform from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

    Also featured is the band Samecumba. This Latin dance band from North Carolina includes musicians from Colombia, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Venezuela and features salsa, meringue, and Cumbia Latin rhythms. Many members of Samecumba have been involved in the international Latin music scene, as well as many other styles of music, including jazz, funk, fusion, rock, soul, reggae, ska, rhythm and blues, heavy metal, folk and classical. They will perform from 3 to 3:45 p.m.

    Also performing will be the Florence-Darlington Strings. This group consists of 60 of the area’s young strings players ranging in age from 6 to 18, with 18 nationalities represented. Performing in costumes and introducing the pieces in native languages, they will play their violins, viola and cellos. Enjoy familiar tunes from around the world and a medley of many national anthems. They will perform at 11 a.m.

    The festival will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the presentation of flags and Todd Matthews on bagpipes. Indian dancers will perform at 2:15 p.m. and Greek dancers will perform at 4 p.m. The Vincent Santamaria Band, featuring mariachi music, will perform at 4:45 p.m. All performances will be on the outdoor stages in front of Rogers Library.

    On the festival grounds, Graystone Ranch will present a tiger display, an exotic animal carousel, and a rolling reptiles and serpentarium display. Graystone Ranch is a non-profit organization dedicated to children and environmental/wildlife conservation. Located in Hephzibah, Ga., the ranch is a federally licensed rehabilitation center, sanctuary and preserve.

    Also on the festival grounds will be Kairik Amanki, “Indian Emperor of the Andes,” presenting music, art, and crafts from Ecuador. This display will feature a variety of handmade crafts and handmade Andean and native instruments from various cultural groups: flutes made of cedar, bamboo pan pipes, and ocarinas (whistles).

    “Taste of the World” will include ethnic food items for sale featuring American, British, Cajun, Caribbean, Chinese, Colombian, German, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Mexican and Vietnamese delicacies. In addition, festival-goers can enjoy an authentic German beer garden and the music of Accordion Bob. Business and cultural displays representing more than 20 countries will be exhibited in the Smith University Center commons all day.

    There will also be activities for children, including games and balloons.

    The festival is presented by the Florence Family YMCA, and Francis Marion University.

    Major sponsors include FMU, Honda of South Carolina Mfg. Inc., Pepsi, and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. Business patrons and contributors include DuBard Inc., GE Medical Systems, Roche Carolina Inc., BB&T, DuPont Teijin Films, ESAB Welding and Cutting Products, IRIX Pharmaceuticals, S&W Manufacturing, and Wellman.

    For more information, call the FMU Community Relations Office at 843-661-1225.

Release contact: Todd J. Hudak (843-661-1227, office;, e-mail)
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10:30 to 10:50 a.m.                  Presentation of Flags

11 to 11:45 a.m.                        Florence-Darlington Strings

12:30 to 2 p.m.                         Brasil Brazil

2:15 to 2:30 p.m.                      Indian dancers

3 to 3:45 p.m.                           Samecumba

4 to 4:15 p.m.                           Greek dancers

4:45 to 5:30 p.m.                      Vincent Santamaria Band

#49 / 10-6-06
Last Published: January 3, 2007 2:44 PM
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