The Assyrian Aid Society of America celebrated the Ninth Annual Mesopotamian Night Event August 19, 2016, at the California Theater in San Jose, California
Each year hundreds and hundreds of volunteer man hours are spent on organizing a program for our people, by our people. It is a program that has raised over $500,000 in humanitarian aid for the Assyrian Aid Society of America. And it is the same program that brought to life and to the stage the first recorded Assyrian Musical and Assyrian Ballet in history. Our humanitarian achievements are remarkable and our cultural preservation and artistic ability is second to none because they are by our people and for our people.
Each year the Mesopotamian Night program aims to inspire others as we have been inspired. We were inspired by one of our most brilliant composers Poulus khofri. And it is because of him that we are once again able to enjoy this year, selections from his suite entitled Assyryt, performed by the Mesopotamian Night Symphony Orchestra.
Our program inspires individuals such as pianist Elena Akopova who came to the US to continue her piano studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under professor Mack McCray, and in the process reignited her passion for Assyrian history, culture, and identity. So it is befitting that she would be performing a piece at the 9th Mesopotamian Night dedicated to the Assyrian people entitled “At the Palace of Ashurbanipal” by talented composer Ilya Demutsky.
We are fortunate for we also have talent within our own community as well and are proud to feature them. Last year, pop singer Shamina closed the show and in the process brought down the house with her rendition of the Ashur Bet Sargis classic, Dashta D’Nineveh. This year she is back with the A cappella group Bra’qala to open the show.
In 2009, we inspired modern composer George Somi to bring his music to life. How else would we ever have discovered such fine talent had it not been for Mesopotamian Night? He is back this year with the fifth movement of his original composition entitled Assyrian Legacy which will feature the Mesopotamian Night Choral Ensemble singing in the classical Syriac language.
The great Assyrian choir is perhaps one our most prized possessions. Year after year they perform some of our most celebrated songs and prove to us that our choral works are some of the best in any language. This year is no exception as they will add to their repertoire selections from Freydun Atturaya, Nebu Issabey, Shoora Michalian, and Rev. Samuel Khangaldy.
We enjoy having a show that has elements of classical, choral and pop music. And for the past few years we were unsuccessful in booking one of our favorite female pop vocalists. Our luck this year has changed and Assyrian recording artist and composer Linda George will be performing some of her most popular songs live for the first time accompanied by the Mesopotamian Night Symphony Orchestra.
The celebration of our arts and its use to help our people is a beautiful concept. We take pride in putting on a show that is entertaining as well as fulfilling. And while we have many spectacular performances planned by our artists this year, perhaps the most beautiful part of our program is not even performed on the stage. It is our audience. Without you and your support, none of this would be possible. We thank you and hope you enjoy our show.