Samoans who share in work at Norbest will share their culture in return

Samoan women rehearse a dance they will perform at a luau on Saturday. Although the luau is being served in conjunction with a writer’s conference sponsored by the Snow College’s Community Education Program, the whole community is invited.


Samoans who share in work at Norbest will share their culture in return

Luau will be final event of annual writer’s conference


By Linda Petersen

Staff writer

Oct. 6, 2017


EPHRAIM—Sanpete County residents are invited to experience a little Pacific Island culture and mingle with a new group of residents from American Samoa during a luau Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Snow College west campus gym.

Officially, the luau is the final dinner for “Write Here in Ephraim,” a writer’s conference sponsored by the Snow College community education program.

But organizers decided to ask many of the 90 adults who have come from Samoa to Sanpete County to work at Norbest to perform native songs and dances at the event.

And to encourage integration of long-time residents with the Samoan newcomers, the organizers have opened up the luau to the whole community.

Roy Leabig of Ephraim, who has lived part time in Hawaii for many years and who teaches community education classes on Hawaiian culture, is directing the performance.

“It’s wonderful to work with them,” Leabig said of the Samoan performers. “I’m 70 years old and they treat me like an elder. ‘Uncle Roy, do not worry,’ they say to me. ‘You tell us what you need and it will be just what you want on the day.’”

The luau will feature a menu of pork shoulder, rice, chicken, fruits and vegetables for $5 per person. Cash or credit cards will be accepted at the door.

During and following the meal, the Samoan visitors will perform native songs and dances and, together with Leabig, share the legend of Maui.

“The Polynesian culture is 3,000 years old. Our guests are looking forward to sharing their rich cultural tradition with the community through song and dance,” community education specialist Graysen Fox said.

“These guests are good, family-oriented people who are super excited to come do that. I hope the community will just come out and welcome and show some love to these people who have come so far to live and work in our town.”

Fox has invited several community leaders to join in the luau. Leabig said the Samoans will honor these community “chiefs” with chant and song, as is the custom in the Pacific Islands.

“We want to welcome these people to Sanpete, to let them know they are welcome here, that we can be their friends and extended family,  like they would welcome us if we visited Samoa,” Leabig said.

            Write Here in Ephraim will provide professional writing instruction and networking for up-and-coming writers. The two-day event on Friday and Saturday will include a writer’s bootcamp, professional workshops, and a meet-and-greet with published authors and publishers.

Guest speakers include Natalie Whipple, (author of “Transparent,” “Blindsided,” the “Relax, I’m a Ninja” series and more) and young-adult fiction writer Brent Boswell (author of “Brother’s Bones,” “Mission Invisible,” “Big Mean Pig” and more).

The conference features workshops on subjects such as self-publishing, editing, novel construction, plot and character development, publishing realities and marketing, along with group panels, round tables, first-page reviews, critique groups for personal feedback on your writing, along with small group meetings with published authors.

Write Here in Ephraim will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days at the West Campus Gym & Hi-Tech Building, 250 W. 100 North in Ephraim.

The cost is $60 for both days (with lunch provided), or $35 for either day. You can preregister at www.trumba.com  or pay at the door.

For more information, visit http://www.snow.edu/community/write_here_in_ephraim.