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All the world’s a stage

All the world’s a stage
All the world’s a stage
The all-female — and all-Buddhist — percussion group known as Mystic Rhythms prepares to take a bow after their captivating performance at Saturday's eighth annual World on the Square event in downtown Corydon. From left are Gay Alexander, Joyce Wagner, Catherine Talbot, Janet Martin Watts, Sheri Carbone and Gina Eberenz. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Glenna Matney of Brandenburg said she just couldn’t help herself.
Stepping, dancing and contorting her slender body to the beat, Catherine Talbott of Mystic Rhythms was working her way through the crowd at Saturday’s World on the Square event when she came towards Matney.
‘She was going through the crowd, trying to get people to dance with her, and I thought I’d get up,’ said Matney, who used to live in Eastern Kentucky. ‘An event like this is all about learning about other cultures, so it didn’t bother me in the least to get up with her. This event is just great. It’s wonderful. I wish we had something like it at home.’
Matney and her husband, Bob, were just two of a couple thousand folks who enjoyed WOTS despite the oppressing heat and humidity.
It was the first WOTS for the Matneys, and if Glenna’s ear-to-ear smile was any indication, it won’t be their last.
‘We usually come down here for the Bluegrass shows, but we happened to come through town today and thought we’d stop by. Everyone here is just so nice. It’s like you step back in time. The booths are really nice, and the presentation of the music is just wonderful,’ she said.
World on the Square, a Community Unity-sponsored event, is in its eighth year. More than 31 exhibitors showed items native to countries from all around the world. The function of WOTS is to develop interest and appreciation for cultural differences.
‘The crowd has been pretty good considering the heat,’ said CU’s Jackie Davidson. ‘When it’s this hot, you never know what you are going to get, but people have been coming and going pretty much all afternoon.’
Until last year, World on the Square started at 2 p.m. and concluded at 6. But organizers decided to change the times to 4 to 8 p.m. in hopes of cooler temperatures on the second Saturday of August.
Near-record temperatures this year didn’t help much, but no one seemed too bothered by the heat.
When WOTS-goers weren’t looking over the expanse of worldwide wares, they were able to enjoy music from people like Anthony Redfeather Nava, who is a Pascua Yaqui Indian from Arizona who now lives in New Albany.
Nava interlaced Indian song with history ‘ and humor.
‘If you ever come across a Sioux, do not call them Sioux. Or you will get Sioux-ed. Like George Custer got Sioux-ed,’ Nava quipped.
He went on to blow a beautiful song through a handmade flute that he described as being millions of years old: It turned out to be PVC pipe. Nava pointed out that PVC is made from plastic, which is made from oil, which is the by-product of deceased dinosaurs.
Mystic Rhythms ‘ a six-person, all-female, all-Buddhist group of African hand drummers from Louisville ‘ followed Nava on the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand.
‘We’re SGI (Soka Gakkai International, which means value creation society) Buddhists who play to promote world peace,’ said member Sheri Carbone. ‘We chant the universal chant ‘ nam-myoho-renge-kyo ‘ to promote happiness.’
Mystic Rhythms was followed by the Irish dance music of Guilderoy Byrne, with Men of Thunder (Scottish bagpipes, drums and historical dress) closing out the musical portion of the day.
Harrison County Tae Kwon Do also had an exhibition, which included forms, light sparring and board-breaking.
Many children who attended the event completed ‘passports,’ where they took a booklet around to each country’s booth and learned something about the country. A completed (or mostly completed) passport earned kids a free knick-knack, ranging from bouncy balls to fans to puppets.
Hundreds of people also went through the line for free ethnic food sampling. The donated dishes lined tables in the Corydon United Methodist Church basement.
‘Everything about this festival is great,’ Glenna Matney said. ‘I hope the organizers don’t change it, and I hope the people of Corydon realize what a treasure they have here.’
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