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Mideast x Midwest: A Dialogue of Music, Food and Fun at America’s Crossroads

Valentine Theatre

November 12, 2016

Concert starts at 7:30pm

In memory of Frank Snug

Sara Jobin, conductor

Michael Ibrahim, conductor

The Toledo Symphony partners with the National Arab Orchestra to present an evening of cultural celebration. Sara Jobin, Toledo Symphony Resident Conductor, joins Maestro Michael Ibrahim of the National Arab Orchestra to present a concert program featuring world renowned opera singer and Syrian refugee Lubana Al-Quntar among a variety of exciting and distinctive musical styles. The performance features the piece “Dialogue,” which has only been performed in public once before, and includes a student chorus of singers from Toledo Public Schools.

The entire audience is invited to attend a reception following the performance to enjoy more music, dancing and food from well-known restaurants across the community in the tradition of Toledo’s ethnic festivals.

Tickets for this event start at just $25.
Student tickets are $5. Please call the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000 to reserve your seats. Tickets are claimed at will call with valid student I.D.

Toledo Symphony News, concert for Syrian Refugees, 2016

Toledo Symphony News, concert for Syrian Refugees, 2016

Honorary Event Chairs

Hussien and Randa Shousher

Labib and Karyn Hajjar

Dick and Fran Anderson

Ann Hartmann

VIP Experience begins at 5:30pm

Grand Lobby, Valentine Theatre

Be a part of the VIP Experience for an additional $75 per person!

VIP Guests enjoy access to a special pre-concert reception hosted by ProMedica honoring Russ Ebeid, premium seats at the concert, and access to the after party. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers provided by The Beirut, and the opportunity to meet the conductors of the Toledo Symphony and National Arab Orchestra.

Proceeds from ticket sales will support the Toledo Symphony and National Arab Orchestra.

Lubana Al Quntar is not what some might expect of a Syrian refugee. An internationally renowned opera and Arab music singer, she commands the stage with her soaring voice. Lubana left Syria in 2011 just as war began to devastate her country. Lubana feared for her safety and saw attendance at a music festival in Los Angeles as a sign that the United States was her chance for a new life. She was granted asylum and now lives in Washington, D.C.

Lubana has not seen her family since leaving Syria. Every day, she watches the destruction that ravages her country, knowing her family is in danger. She sees the men, women and children fleeing their homes and understands their fear and pain because she is one of them.

Lubana will be performing with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and National Arab Orchestra at a unique multicultural event – Mideast x Midwest: A Dialogue of Music, Food and Fun at America’s Crossroads – on November 12.

At a time of heightened tensions across the country, Mideast x Midwest will create a bridge for people of different cultures in Toledo, Ohio. The city has a long history of welcoming refugees, including 12 Syrian refugees who resettled in the area and will attend the concert. This event not only offers the opportunity for Toledoans to share their cultures, but also for the refugees to relish in a small piece of their distant homeland.

We invite you to come to this unique event and spend your evening with the people of Toledo to hear the stories of those who call it home. Additional information is listed in the attached media advisory. Interviews with Lubana Al Quntar, the refugees, and conductors and musicians can be arranged.


Mideast x Midwest: A Dialogue of Music, Food and Fun at America’s Crossroads

At a time of heightened tensions, Toledo, Ohio, is celebrating its multiculturalism with Mideast x Midwest. The city has a history of welcoming refugees from around the world and is known for ethnic neighborhoods and festivals that provide a place for people to preserve their heritage while sharing it with others. Mideast x Midwest is a chance to experience Arab culture through a uniquely Midwestern perspective. The event also gives local Syrian refugee families an opportunity to hear Lubana Al Quntar, a renowned Arab singer and Syrian refugee herself. Lubana will perform “Dialogue” with the National Arab Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra and local high school students who have studied Arab culture and language for the event.


Michael Ibrahim, Founder/Director of the National Arab Orchestra – as a student, Michael became committed to building cultural bridges through music. As a conductor, he conjures the soul of Arab music from his players who are Arab Americans and others who love to play traditional Arab music.

Sara Jobin, Resident Conductor, Toledo Symphony Orchestra – Sara is the Grammy-nominated conductor of TSO. She is the first woman to conduct in various opera houses, including San Francisco and Baltimore. Her participation in ME x MW follows her long-standing interest in increasing cross cultural understanding through music.

Lubana Al Quntar, opera and Arab music singer – Lubana comes from a family known for classical Arabic music. She studied opera, becoming the first Syrian opera singer to achieve international acclaim. She has been in the United States since 2011, when she fled her home in Suwayda, Syria, five months into the war.

Students from Toledo Public School’s Start and Woodward High Schools

 ProMedica, University of Toledo and other local sponsors

WHAT: VIP reception, concert and a celebration with local ethnic foods, more music, dancing and celebration. The concert will be delivered in a three-part mash-up of Arab and western music styles, culminating in a performance of the musical piece “Dialogue.”

WHEN: Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 p.m. VIP Event at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams Street, Toledo, OH 43604

For more information, contact Allison Westhoven at 419.241.2221.


About Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist. Named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" for 2006/07 by the New America Media. He is the recipient of four Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Visit his website at www.TheDailyHookah.com. Find his podcasts on iTunes and on Vimeo.


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