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Michigan State University

Across Oceans: Small Island Big Song’s Residency at Wharton Center

In March 2024, campus experienced the transformative power of music during Small Island Big Song‘s performance and residency at Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

The project brings together Asian and Pacific Islander performers, uniting communities through song and a shared sense of responsibility to protect our water and our planet. The weeklong residency included engagement with over 100 Michigan K–12 students in schools, 50 MSU students in their classrooms, and over 100 community members both at the Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center and at Wharton Center.

The program is a shining example of the ways in which Wharton Center brings together campus and community partners to create experiences with artists from all over the world. And as Wharton Center’s Executive Director Eric Olmscheid said, the connective experience that happens on MSU’s campus between artists and community is impactful for both audiences and the performers.

Wharton Center partnered with the Residential College of Arts and Humanities, MSU College of Music, Asian Studies, Native American Institute at MSU, Student Life & Engagement, LATTICE (Linking All Types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education), Teacher Network, Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center, Pattengill Biotechnical School, and Murphy Elementary.

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