“There are 7,100 spoken languages in the world, but only one that transcends every culture and border: music,” writes Mike Pearson in Thursday’s (11/10) Blade (Toledo, Ohio). “At least that’s what conductor Michael Ibrahim is hoping when he brings his National Arab Orchestra to [Toledo’s] Valentine Theatre on Saturday.” At the concert, called “Mideast x Midwest,” “the Detroit-based National Arab Orchestra will be joined by the Toledo Symphony under the direction of Sara Jobin for a performance of Arab classical music. The show will also feature 40 students from Start and Woodward high schools—singing in Arabic no less—along with Syrian opera singer Lubana al Quntar…. [Members of] the National Arab Orchestra … range from Palestinian and Lebanese to Mexican, Japanese, and American…. The National Arab Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony will each do a set during the concert, and then come together for the finale, ‘Dialogue,’ a piece originally written for a traditional Arab takht or quartet.” Says Ibrahim, “I’m hoping that people will have a greater appreciation for Arab culture, and see that we’re more alike than we are different. Even in the ways we are different it’s OK. It just adds to the beauty of society.” The event includes Middle Eastern foods and dancing.

Posted November 10, 2016