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CSUB professor encouraging cultural exchange
 
  October 11, 2005
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,
jloveless@csub.edu

A California State University, Bakersfield professor is fighting racism with the sound of music. The department of political science’s Dominique Apollon has helped to create a new organization called the Bakersfield Cultural Exchange, which hopes to attract a more diverse crowd to the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra’s opening night performance on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. at Rabobank Arena.

“We’d like to help expand the symphony’s outreach efforts to make a positive statement that cultural exchange is a good thing for Bakersfield,” Apollon said.

Dominique ApollonAfter reading about a white supremacist musical act that was booked and then canceled by the Kern County Fair last month, and then reading on the group’s Web site that white parents were encouraged to take their children to the symphony because the audience was almost always white, Apollon said he just had to do something.

Apollon said the Bakersfield Cultural Exchange is encouraging all ages, races, and religious backgrounds to attend this weekend’s opening night of the orchestra as a way to simultaneously reproach those statements, and support a longstanding cultural institution in the community.

Apollon and other CSUB faculty members organized the exchange, which launched its Web site Monday. The intent is to create an emerging network of local residents committed to expanding opportunities for a healthy cultural exchange. The Web site and group are not affiliated with CSUB.

The exchange also hopes that those who can’t attend the event will donate money so that as many as 100 local students will be able to attend the symphony’s opening night, and the Nov. 12 orchestra performance accompanied by chaperones.

Nancy Marvin, orchestra manager, has arranged for the organization to receive discounted tickets to support both efforts.

Saturday’s performance will feature Russian music, and the Nov. 12 performance will include music by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Strauss.

Apollon hopes to expand this program so that local students will become exposed to a variety of cultural events. He is also looking into forming a non-profit organization with the help of other supportive faculty and community members.

For discount ticket information, please contact the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra at (661) 323-7928 before 4 p.m. Friday. For more information and/or to make a donation, please log onto www.bakersfieldculturalexchange.org.

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