ALANAPalooza’s Annual Return

The music of ALANAPalooza was audible from Alumni Hall. The DJ was excellent, and the sound drew in hundreds of curious students, professors, staff and members of the Hamilton community. Once one entered, it was impossible to leave until the end.

The enormous barbecue sent smoke over the booths set up by Africana, Latin American, Asian and Native American Cultural Center (ALANA), Campus Safety, Colgate Athletics, the Africana and Latina Studies (ALST) and Women’s Studies (WMST) departments, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,  Transgender and Queer Initiatives, the Black Student Union and a few Max Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education groups. There were also other attractions, such as games to play for free T-shirts, lanyards, candy and long lines for hot dogs, hamburgers, Gilligan’s ice cream and the Barge Canal’s famous rainbow cake.

However, the main attraction was the boys of The Almighty Percussion Sound (TAPS) Drum Line playing for their sister-organization, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters (CSS) Drill Team, who have been featured on CNN, ABC and “Dancing with the Stars.”

Beyonc?e praised CSS on Good Morning America for their talent and their work at creating a better community. With drill, hip-hop, jazz and contemporary influences, group members raise money for their extensive travel, frequently performing at college campuses where they are encouraged to apply.

Camden, New Jersey is a tough area to grow up in, as evidenced by its 49 percent high school graduation rate. The Camden organization requires members to maintain above a C average and perform 200 hours of community service, boasting a 100 percent graduation rate.

“I love to do college tours and take them to step shows,” founder Tawanda Jones said. “You have to get them out of their element. It makes them realize they deserve a college education just like anyone else because me telling them, it falls on deaf ears, it’s just like a mom. Colgate is so green, so huge, three girls are already talking about [applying here.]”

LaQuicia Jones, a Camden Sister and a senior in college herself, agreed.

“I’ve never heard of Colgate before, but you guys are so hospitable. And the tour was so great, one girl wasn’t even thinking of going to college because where we come from it’s not really heard of, and when we tell her, it’s like beating a dead horse. Now she wants to apply to Colgate,” Jones said.

Senior Elena Kalmus, a New Jersey resident, appreciated that Colgate students were getting great entertainment while TAPS and CSS

students expanded their own opportunities.

“I really like that they invited the people from Camden,” Kalmus said. “I live in Jersey near that area, and it’s really important to have community and see people doing things. Also, I really like this music.”

From a town toddler to the Colgate Raider, the music was enjoyed by all. The whole crowd danced until TAPS and CSS took the stage. When the girls took the stage, a circle formed around the plaza where CSS cartwheeled, cheered, marched like soldiers, smiled for the cameras, clapped for the drummers and filmed each other with iPads. Alternating dancing with pure percussion performance and slick choreography with twirling drumsticks, the groups never tired or bored.

Most amazingly, when the performance was over, the group kept dancing for almost an hour with children and adults alike.

Contact Lee Tremblay at [email protected].