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Thresholds Arts Festival Brings National Figures To Drake

February 17, 2006

CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, (515) 271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu


Prominent Native American speakers and performers will visit Drake University and First Christian Church Feb. 24-26 as part of the Thresholds Arts Festival, which focuses this year on “Native American Arts and Issues.”

The festival, now in its fifth year, will feature special performances by Academy Award-winning songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, renowned native flute player Bryan Akipa and storyteller and painter Ray Buckley.

The festival begins at noon Friday, Feb. 24, with an opening ceremony and luncheon in Levitt Hall in Old Main, 2507 University Ave. Albert White Hat, a leading scholar of the Lakota language and translator for Kevin Costner’s “Dances with Wolves,” will give the keynote address on “Social Aspects of Language.” Tickets for the lunch are $8.50. For reservations, call (515) 255-2181.

Following the lunch, there will be a free program in Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main. Buckley will speak at 2 p.m. on “The Culture of Story: A Path Toward Healing.” At 3 p.m. White Hat will discuss “Spiritual Aspects of Language,” followed at 4 p.m. by Circles of Dancing, Drumming and Singing presented by Akipa, Mitakuye Oyasin, Irma White, Mike Smith and the Meskwaki Travellers Drum Group and Meskwaki Settlement School Dancers.

The festival will continue Friday, Feb. 24, with the showing of “Smoke Signals,” an all-native production directed by Chris Eyre, at 8 p.m. in Bulldog Theater in Olmsted Center, 29th Street and University Avenue. Admission is free and popcorn will be served.

On Saturday, Feb. 25, there will be native exhibits and vendors at First Christian Church, 25th Street and University Avenue, from 5 to 11 p.m. A Central Iowa Circle of First Nations feast will take place at the church from 5:30 to 7:20 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Songwriter and singer Sainte-Marie, who won an Academy Award for “Up Where We Belong” in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” will perform a concert at 8 p.m. at the church. Tickets, which are $25, are available at the church, Peeple’s Music or by calling (515) 274-5566.

The festival will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 26, with several events, including a free public lecture by Sainte-Marie on “Native American Spirituality” at 11 a.m. at First Christian Church. She will then attend a brunch for patrons of the festival at the home of Drake President David and Madeleine Maxwell.

A free session on Native American Art for Children, co-sponsored by Metro Arts Alliance, will be held at 2:45 p.m. at First Christian Church. The festival will end with a Multimedia Gala Closing Concert at 4 p.m. at the church featuring Sainte-Marie, Akipa, a 150-voice Thresholds Mass Choir, directed by Robert De Cormier, along with the Maang Ikwe Drum Group with Mike Wilson, Central Iowa Circle of First Nations dancers and the Iowa Youth Chorus Youth Chorale. Admission is free, although a free-will offering will be collected.

For more information, visit http://www.thresholdsfestival.com/ or call (515) 255-218.