Heritage Night Celebrates Local Diversity

By Joseph Kratz, Editor-in-Chief

More than 747 people  filled the gym lobby after the Heritage Night pre-Show. When everyone was allowed into the auditorium there were people standing in the aisles and along the sides of the room. The lights dimmed, and the stage lights came on.

After an introduction, the night was opened by an original piano composition by Gerald “Jerry” Achtermann (11) inspired by movie scores. He was followed by a dance homage to Michael Jackson by Luis Serrano (9). These two acts set the stage for a night filled with musical expression.

The duo of Adam Ashley (11) and Milka Yemane (12) cycled through emceeing, announcing the upcoming acts, and hyping up the crowds with the two other duos of Ruby Reid (11) and Olivia Lang (10), and Ellie Thatcher (12) and Endy Gomez (11).

There were numerous dance acts; the Asian Student Association performed a carefully choreographed dance routine that included several different dance performances combined into one act. They combined modern, East Asian music with hip-hop dance and music. The closing group, M3N, was comprised of three members of the Asian Student Association: Kyle Mallari (‘18), Jimmy Nguyen (12), and Nhan Nguyen (12). M3N combined their defining hip-hop dance style with classic pop songs like A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton and That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars.

The Vietnamese Student Union performed a dance routine with folding fans in traditional clothing to traditional music. Audience member Tracy Nguyen (11) even said she recognized the song from time with family.

Jack Klika (11) and CJ Hunter (11) danced to a  compilation of American pop culture classics like the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Jerry was not the only musician who performed his own piece; Andrew Nguyen (11) sang and played his own song of unrequited love. His piece was filled with several references that left the crowd laughing. He compared his love to how much “JFK wanted a car with a roof,” and that he would fight for his crush “just like Juul and the FDA.”

Tathiana Alvarado (12) wove South Korean music and Spanish language in a Spanish adaptation of BTS’ “Fake Love.”

Another piece of Spanish music performed was a duet by Estefani Reyes (12) and Madneury Belen (11). Unfortunately, the beginning of their performance was sidetracked by a faulty microphone. The hosts and Ms. Sherman quickly jumped in to get them a new microphone.

Heritage Night has become such a yearly staple that even Fairfax County Public School Board Member-at-Large, Ryan McElveen, attended the event.

Even though the preparation for the night was extremely stressful, the event was well received. A self-proclaimed advocate for teaching cultural awareness, Mr. Naanou said, “It is just so nice to see all the cultures and heritages we have at Falls Church.”