Heritage, end of school year celebrated at Black Culture Center

Friday, May 8, 2009 | 8:46 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The crashing of cymbals and the staggered beats of a drum line echoed from one side of MU's Student Recreation Complex to the other on Friday afternoon. 

More than 50 people gathered on the basketball courts to watch the Marching Musical Storm, Lincoln University's marching band, while even more stopped to watch from walkways or put their workouts on hold to wander toward the sound.

The band had been invited by MU's Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center to perform at the Black Heritage Festival and close Black Heritage Week.

Although there was little room to march, the Marching Musical Storm swayed in sync to the music while the Pure Silk Flag Corp and the Blue Flame Dancers, both part of the marching band, performed.

Band director Rhonda Harper said the band, which comes from a historically black college, is often invited to perform at different events and tries to tailor its program for each.

Caribbean food and a reggae band completed the festival, which the student staff of the Black Culture Center helped organize and plan.

"We want to give the building a brand," said Derrick Christian, an MU junior and student staff member of the Black Culture Center. Christian, who is in charge of advertising , said he wants the center to be more than just a building on campus.

Black Heritage Week also included a Tuesday screening of "Black in America," a production by CNN that is scheduled to show in July. Students were able to give input on the show before the final version airs. Christian said the screening was a "present to the campus."

The Black Heritage Ball, set for 6 p.m. Saturday, will conclude the week and will wrap up the school year for the staff and students involved with the center.

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