With a shift in leadership for SUNY Geneseo's Western Humanities class in Nicaragua, Professor Glenn McClure brought the idea of using the arts as a tool in development. Through much hard work and preparation, he was able to see the idea take form.
On June seventh, Carlos Mejía Godoy y Los de Palacagüina, arguably Nicaragua's largest singer-songwriter and his band, arrived to El Sauce to perform in the largest concert that the municipality has seen in years. Over one thousand people from all over Nicaragua gathered in the patio of El Sauce's mayor's office for the First Sauceño International Folklore Concert.
McClure used this event as a way to tie the university course to the community, and to Enlace Project. The Humanities study abroad experience focuses on reading some of the most influential texts that have shaped Western culture and discussing their influence on Nicaragua.
The concert gave the students some background to the history and culture of Nicaragua-- Godoy is known for his revolutionary songs telling stories of what Nicaraguan life was like during the Sandinista movement. In more recent years, Godoy's biggest songs have focused on what it means to be Nicaraguan.
Enlace Project also actively promoted and funded the event, hoping to share its mission and services with the attendees. Members of the Sauce Aventuras tourism cooperative sold food, while the women of Fuente de Pino sold baskets. The event was free, and encouraged many to inquire about the organization. In McClure's words:
"Enlace does the vital, quiet work of economic development... and education that continues to build new possibilities for the people of El Sauce and Ocotal. The Arts provide a public platform to celebrate this quiet, often invisible work at the level of energy and passion that is worthy of the people who do it."
Most important, however, is the sharing of culture and friendship through the exchange of music and the conversation surrounding the event. Local groups from Achuapa, Salales, and even a dance group from a local high school. As the night continued, Glenn McClure himself took the stage with the assistance of musicians from both the U.S. and Nicaragua. When Carlos Mejía Godoy took the stage, McClure joined him for the final few songs:
"At the end of the concert, after we had sung "Nicaragua, Nicaraguita" together, Carlos told the crowd that our concert proved that whether we come from Nicaragua, the US, Argentina, Bolivia, etc., we are all brothers and sisters of the Americas! This is not only an expression of what happened on stage that night. It also expresses the deep friendship and commitment between Nicaraguans and Americans as they work together through Enlace Project."