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Singing South American songs and partaking in ponotos chileanos, over 400 students and community members celebrated Chile's 181st anniversary Saturday night at the second annual Pena Chilena at the Christian Association. The Coro-cane band, the first of four groups to perform, played music from the Andean highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Chile using indigenous instruments such as pan pipes and wooden flutes. Corazon al Sur, an Argentinian and Colombian trio specializing in folk music and "nueva cancion" from throughout Latin America was the next musical group to play. Corazon used several Chilean instruments including the charango, a small five string instrument made from an armadillo shell, and the bombo, a large drum made from hollowed tree trunk. Javier Aguilar, a Mexican singer and guitarist who is also a Drexel University administrator, then played authentic Mexican music. And Banda Bacana, an American band that plays Afro-Brazilian dance music, was the last musical group to perform. Aguilar said that this year's Pena Chilena was better than last year's. "It is a challenge and a privilege to be a representative of my country," Aguilar said. "This is the second time we've done this event, and this year is a big improvement over last year. The musicians are more mature and of higher quality." One of the most popular performances of the night was the poetry reading by award-winning Chilean poet Carlos Trujillo. Trujillo, a third-year PhD candidate in Latin American literature, has published four collections of Chilean poetry about human rights abuses in Chile and the poor living conditions. "His poetry is very connected to the people's experience," said Vivian Schatz, Penn-Chile Committee chairperson. In addition, there was a variety of Chilean foods served at the event. On the menu were empanadas, ponotos chileanos -- a classic South American food composed of beans, corn, squash and tomatoes -- pastel de chocole -- a corn casserole -- and Chilean salads. Most of the students and community members at the festival said that they found the evening very exciting. "The music is very beautiful and relaxing," first-year graduate student Chris Seipel said. "The empanadas were delicious. They reminded me of my being in Argentina," said College freshman Priscilla Elliott. Some of the money raised from the event will go toward aid for poor neighborhoods in Chile while the rest will be sent to the families of political prisoners in Santiago and Valparasio, Schatz said.

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