Aidan Largey ’21
On Saturday, April 6, the Latin American Student Organization presented its 19th annual Noche Latina. The event was founded with the purpose of educating, celebrating, and enriching Latinx culture within the Holy Cross community. This year’s theme was ‘bajo el mismo sol: sembraron y cosecharon’ which translates: ‘under the same sun they sowed and harvested’ with the focus of this theme being the unity found in the diverse Latinx community.
The night began with dinner accompanied by a mariachi band, and it continued with singing, dance, and original poetry, all performed by students. The student dance groups Ballroom Dance and Latinidad Identidad contributed their own performances. Luis Hurtado ‘19 and Brandon Brito ‘20 MC’ed with the Student Government Association (SGA) co-president Adrian Cacho ‘19, performing skits between each act and highlighting Latinx activists throughout U.S. history. The dances included baile folklorico Mexicano (Mexican folk dance), duranguense/zapateado, and cumbia. In his poem, Darwin Contreras ‘21 addressed the intersecting identites of being LGBTQ, Latinx, and American, and Nelson De Los Santos ‘22 spoke about the importance of family in his life.
Cassandra Merino Muniz ‘21 said, “Noche Latina is a night to showcase dance, sing, and read poetry. It’s basically a talent show with a focus on Latinx identity and culture. I choreographed two of the dances and I am also part of Latinidad Idenitidad, a group on campus that spreads awareness of Latinx cultures through history and dance. I taught cumbia and zapateado, and it’s been three years since these dances were performed at Noche Latina so I was really excited to teach them.”
LASO co-chair Laura Escalero ‘19 said, “I would describe Noche Latina as LASO’s annual showcase of the work in activism within our community that we did over the year. It is the one night a year where members of the Latinx community invite their families to celebrate all of their hard work in a night full of culture, food, poetry, and dancing. It is a night where we are free to express ourselves and really take the time to rejoice our accomplishments as well as our presence on the Holy Cross campus.”
Planning for this great event was no easy task. “Planning for Noche Latina was a very long and thought out process and began months in advance,” said Escalero. “The planning was broken down into committees for specific aspects of the show, such as entertainment, decorations, dances, backstage, and food, to name a few. Adriana and I oversaw these committees and checked in on their progress every week. The process was sometimes very hectic, especially while trying to balance planning with regular club programs during the spring semester.”
LASO Staff Advisor Melisa Alves ‘06 was involved with Noche Latina during her time as a student. “My first year I performed in the show and after that year I joined the executive board and helped plan Noche Latina during my last three years on the Hill,” she shared. ”My favorite aspect of the show is what people do not see. Is it the work and energy that students put to make the show happen. I have fond memories of Holy Cross, centered around the hours of planning, practicing and getting ready for Noche Latina. In those moments, friendships grow, new relationships are formed and there is an unspoken appreciation for la communidad we have on campus. I have seen Noche grow in regards to the representation of Latinx culture. As a student, our community numbers were heavily represented by Latinx students from Caribbean countries, which was reflected in the show through the performances. As our Latinx community on campus has grown in size we see more diversity in the Latin American countries represented on campus. This growth in representation has helped strengthen the Latinx community on campus and contributes to the diversity we see in the performances in Noche Latina. There is still room for growth, as I recognize that many Latin American voices are still missing, but we are heading in the right direction.”
Photo by Hui Li ’21.