USA DayTe Papa is hosting a cultural day for each of the ten nations with a team playing in Wellington in this year’s Rugby World Cup. Thursday, September 22nd, is the day dedicated to the United States. There is a full program of diverse activities and performances. I very much encourage you to come on down and have some fun.

It’s a challenge putting together a USA cultural day because there is simply so much from which to choose. With such a large, protean, and riotously diverse country, no limited number of selections can ever be representative.

Also, many aspects of American culture have been so embraced and absorbed by other people around the world that their American origins and nature are often overlooked or even denied.

Te Papa has risen to the challenge … with jazz, blues, Gleeked-out show choir, cheerleading, country-western dancing, funk, Broadway showstoppers, barbershop, indigenous-influence percussion, crafts for the kids, and more.

For your information, below are the details and schedule that I clipped and pasted from Te Papa’s website:

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The Eagles have landed in Wellington, and Te Papa is celebrating everything American! Like the US itself, we have something for everyone. There’ll be music, dance, art, film, and activities for the kids.

Learn something new about American history and culture. And if you bring your dancing shoes (or cowboy boots or pompoms), maybe you’ll even pick up a few new moves! So come along and be part of this stars and stripes celebration!

Here is the schedule:

All Day: USA Day fun activities for Kids – Inspiration Station, Level 4.

11am–11.30am: 4midable Choir – Wellington Foyer, Level 2.

4midable is Wellington’s all-male answer to McKinley High’s Glee show choir. Made up of senior students from Scots College, 4midable will take you down an all-American memory lane of Broadway classics. Think South Pacific, Westside Story, Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, and High School Musical! Be there or be slushied!

12.15pm–12.45pm: The Wellington City Chorus – The Marae, Level 4.

The Wellington City Chorus is a women’s barbershop choir. Today they’ll perform a programme of ballads, jazz, pop, and blues – as both a reflection and celebration of the diverse musical culture of the US.

Wellington City Chorus specialises in four-part harmony – hence the barbershop connection. There are about 65 performers, of all ages and ethnicities. They’re affiliated with the Sweet Adelines International group, which has 30,000 members in choruses throughout the world – a real sisterhood of song!

1pm–2pm: Applejack Country Line Dancers – Wellington Foyer, Level 2.

Applejack Country Line Dancers have whipped up an hour of music, dance, and fun. Shed your inhibitions and join for this folk dance workshop. Applejacks have been performing for 18 years in and around Wellington, so you’ll be led by the best!

2.30pm–3.15pm: Tom Teasley Percussion Performance – The Marae, Level 4.

American drummer Tom Teasley shares his unique American-inspired percussion. Tom’s rhythms are filtered through his rich experience as a cultural envoy. He has collaborated with master indigenous drummers all over the world. He infuses his love of American jazz and funk with ancient musical traditions from around the world.

Tom has been a soloist and composition collaborator with the National Symphony and Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC.

3.30pm–4.30pm: Special Activity – Inspiration Station, Level 4.

Come and join in the fun of Te Papa’s 10 National Days! Make a badge or a flag. Maybe get your face painted in the USA’s colours. There’ll be full-on fun all day, including a kids’ craft activity from 3.30pm–4.30pm, in which you might make a hat or a shield or maybe a mask – or something else entirely!

4.30pm–5pm: All Star Force - Wellington Foyer, Level 2.

All Star Force cheerleaders will leave you in no doubt that a great cheerleading performance is a kaleidoscope of stunts, tumbles (intentional!), cheers, and dance. No wonder cheerleading is one of the fastest growing team sports in the US! Come and learn how it’s done in this demonstration and workshop.

5.30pm–6.30pm: Jazz and blues – Level 4 Espresso.

Jazz and blues will be a great way to finish such a full-on day! Unwind with a wine while you enjoy sounds from the south.

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If there had been a second day available I would have suggested Alvin Ailey, hip hop, and moonwalking … Gershwin, Glass, Copland, Elvis, and Gaga … Faulkner, O’Neill, Albee, and the Smothers Brothers … Sargent, Wyeth, O’Keeffe, Pollack, and Warhol … I Love Lucy, Roots, Hawaii 5-0, iconic 1930s & 1970s golden-age films …

… jambalaya, TexMex, turducken, shoo fly pie, and potato chips … California wines, New England microbrews, root beer, and milkshakes … muscle cars, monster trucks, electric guitars, and blue jeans … Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, and Bob Mackie … Stickley, M&Ms, ferris wheels, internet, rodeos … and other all-American favorites of mine.

But you can only get so much into one day, and the Thursday events at Te Papa are a great start. The program runs from 11:00am until 7:00pm, and entry is free.

Hope to see you there.