Friday, July 10, 2009


Assyrians are a nation of dreams, and when those dreams include vibrant performing arts, we are the richer for it. After all, a nation’s art is its soul.

Imagine the spirit feasting on Assyrian symphonic music, opera, ballet, theater and film, presented by world-class artists. It is not all that far-fetched. We need only to look back in our history and see the rich art our nation is capable of creating. It still can, and does. It only takes a keen eye and a proud heart to reach out for it.

Perhaps the third annual Mesopotamian Nights Gala concert, presented by the Assyrian Aid Society of America (AAS-A), Central Valley Chapter, is the road on which some of our performing arts will flourish. This year’s event takes place on August 15 at the Gallo Center for the Arts, in Modesto, California. The evening promises an exciting bill of Assyrian classical and popular music, along with an art auction. Proceeds will benefit needy Iraqi Assyrians.

Following the Mesopotamian Nights Gala tradition, the program highlights two distinct sides of our culture. The first half of the concert showcases Assyrian symphonic, operatic and folk music with soloists, chorus and the Gottschalk Music Center Orchestra conducted by John Kendall Bailey. For those who have never heard Assyrian music performed by a large symphony orchestra, the evening promises a dazzling surprise. No less of a surprise is an evening of Assyrian operatic music — sung in Assyrian.

The second half romps through a field of Assyrian popular and traditional music performed by recording artists Lida Lawandoo and Emannuel Bet Yonan, accompanied by the full orchestra.

Every dream rings with possibilities. A vibrant portrait of Assyrian performing arts is no different. It all has to start somewhere and then keep on going, armed with the strength of the artist and the nudging of our people. As master of ceremonies, I invite you to an evening at the symphony as you’ve never experienced.

See you at the concert.

Obelit Yadgar
Master of ceremonies

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