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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Languages compete during Modern Languages Reception

On April 13, the Modern Languages and Literatures Graduation Reception celebrated graduating language majors and minors and recognized outstanding students, while also holding a friendly competition between the different language departments. The creation of the competition was for students to showcase their love for language in an artistic form.

This year’s two winners were the Italian program and the German department. The Italian group won a model rocket and a trophy of a small rocket for the students’ performance of “Vengo anch’io No, tu no,” or in English, “I’m coming too. No, you’re not.” The German department performed its rendition of “Ode an die Freude,” or in English “Ode to Joy.”

The languages presented were Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin and Spanish. The performances included poems, songs, skits and scenes. The judges of the competition were Stacia Zabusky, associate dean for curriculum and undergraduate programs in the School of Humanities and Sciences; Tanya Saunders, assistant provost for international programs and extended studies; and Ron Trunzo, associate director of residential life and judicial affairs.

The judges used text emoticons to give their opinions on each performance, examples of which included the salsa dancer emoji and the roller coaster emoji.

Zabusky gave the Italian program a party emoji because she felt like it was a party and she appreciated the invitation to participate. She gave the German program a roller coaster emoji.

“I was on a roller coaster of emotions listening to this, from worry to pity to hysterical laughter,” Zabusky said.

The winning musical performance was written by Italian playwright Dario Fo and Italian singer Enzo Jannacci. The performance consisted of four journeys that excluded people. The journeys were about creating mischief at the zoo, enjoying a beautiful spring day and visiting a loved one’s funeral.

The audience participated by singing the lyric, “no, tu no” or “no, not you.” The performance consisted of the group’s dancing and pushing a member out of the group who pretended to be a stranger wanting to join the adventures.

The group members, freshmen James Pak and Julia Zubrovich; sophomores Casey Murphy and Corie Levine; junior David Glaser; and seniors Nolan Elias, Olivia Manderville and Shaylynn McGrory, said they were very happy that they won.

“A lot of work and preparation went into this, and we’re glad to see it come out in first place,” Glaser said. “We hope to make it a tradition and continue the fun of this event. We started a winning streak today.”

Sophomore Liya Lachovizer performed on the behalf of the Hebrew program because she said she has a love for the culture and language. Her performance this year was a song she sang last year at an Israeli film festival. The theme of festival was about diversity and inclusion. Seeing the different approaches that the different language programs took on in this event is what she said she enjoyed the most.

“Honestly, hearing all the other cultures and seeing the different approaches to this kind of event,” Lachovizer said. “Seeing that you don’t just have to do a song and a dance or poem, you could do a whole skit with a song, and you can dance, and you can do audience participation. I thought that was really interesting to see.”

Throughout the competition, several acts were performed. The German program and the Chinese program performed a song, the Arabic program did a poem, the Latin and Spanish programs did a skit, and the French program did a scene.

As the competition ended, Maria DiFrancesco, associate professor of Spanish, said her favorite part of the event was seeing the collaboration among the different students.

“I like the collaboration,” DiFrancesco said. “You see the camaraderie among the different students and the professors and the close relationships.”

A previous version of this article said the Italian program won the competition. It has since been updated to reflect that there were two winners: the Italian program and the German department.