From Tucson Meet Yourself, 2006
Tucson Meet Yourself is an annual festival held in Tucson, Arizona, which is in the southwestern United States. The purpose is to bring together the many diverse ethnic groups in the Tucson area. This is one of the beautiful things about the city. Attendees at the festival can see ethnic dance, crafts, and eat ethnic food, from all over the world. In many cases, Tucsonans who are interested in a culture but not a member of the ethnic group is welcome to join in their activities. In some of these pictures, you will see that some dancers are not members of the ethnic group. I myself have experienced the hospitality of the diverse ethnic groups, since our children and I studied the dances of several other cultures, including the hula dance, flamenco and Mexican dance, and participated in festivals with specific ethnic dances, including Greek dance, African dance, and the Tohono O'odham Native American friendship dance. I also played in a gamelan orchestra for a short time. The gamelan orchestra consists entirely of tuned arrays of bells and gongs and a drum. Bells can be made from such things as cooking pots. It originates in Bali. The Finestream Gamelan is actually organized by a westerner, but the music is authentic. In addition, we participated in other groups that grow out of a European heritage, such as the Tucson Recorder Society. This group met monthly to sight-read and play recorder music together, and held a workshop which some of us attended. The recorder is a wooden instrument which is the ancestor of the modern western flute. Some of the music is very complex, and the literature includes recorder concertos by such people as Telemann. Unfortunately, there was no recorder group or gamelan orchestra at Tucson Meet Yourself.
This is the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra and the dancer is a Gypsy from Serbia. She was also an excellent singer. The costumes are hand made. Although I rehearsed with the orchestra for awhile, playing the autoharp, one of the reasons I never performed with them is that I lacked both the time and expertise to make a costume for myself. Our youngest son, who is an excellent classical guitarist, also rehearsed with them.