[Spotlight] Music without borders
By: Jennifer Zeleski
On April 6, the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem hosted “Music Without Borders,” a partnership event with the Piedmont Wind Symphony, supported by World Relief Triad, Interfaith Winston-Salem, Pro Humanitate Institute at Wake Forest University and Love Out Loud. The organizations came together to bring the community a night of music that strived to create “a catalyst for conversation and change,” in regards to the local and national refugee crisis, according to the press release.
The Friday-night crowd mingled throughout the night, with many stopping by the organizations’ tables to sign up for volunteer opportunities, snap pictures in front of the Piedmont Wind Symphony backdrop, and welcome everyone from across the religious spectrum.
Maestro Matthew Troy put together a program with heavy international influence. Mohammed Fairouz composed the opening piece titled “In the Shadow of No Towers” as a direct response to the events on September 11, 2001. An Arabic-American composer himself, the piece was filled with dynamic sounds, contrasted by moments of pure silence. Concluding the piece, Troy thanked the crowd for their welcoming reaction to the new music.
The second half of the show featured Elizabeth Cook, a Winston-Salem based cellist who recently graduated from University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ Professional Artist Certificate Program. Cook played in the ensemble for Asfour, a piece inspired by the poem by Marcel Khalife, “A Bird” when translated into English.
Also in the ensemble was Nabil Rahman, an Oud player originally from Libya, who is now a music education graduate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. The Oud is similar to a short-necked guitar, and both musicians were joined by other members of the symphony.
The music within the second half of the program was also separated by readings of religious texts from the four primary religions affected by refugee crises around the world.
Muhammad Siddiqui read from the Qu’ran, verse 4:36, “And to the near neighbor, and to the neighbor from afar, do good. To the companion at your side, the traveler, and to those whom your right hand possesses, do good. Indeed, God does not like those who are self-diluting and boastful.”
Sita Somara read from the Hindu texts, chapter 6, verse 72, “‘This is my own relative, and that is a stranger — is the reasoning of the narrow-minded. For the noble hearts, however, the entire earth is but one family.”
Art Bloom read from the Torah, Leviticus 19: 33-34, “When a stranger resides with you on your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you, one of your citizens. You shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God.”
Lynn Rhoades read from two chapters in the Bible, one being Hebrews chapter 13, verses one and two. “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels.”
The verses in each religious text were chosen to refer back to the overall theme of the event, but also to make a statement: Although many are divided by different types of faith, supporting one another and loving one another are two powerful ways communities can overcome their differences.