Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble to Feature Armenian Ensemble Dec. 1Event to Introduce Acting Director Samuel Shalhoub, Who Will Serve for the 2018-19 Season
The Cal Poly Arab Music Ensemble and Chookasian Folk Music Ensemble will perform a program of works from the Eastern Mediterranean and larger region at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Spanos Theatre on campus.
The Arab Music Ensemble will begin the program with some of the most celebrated repertoire of the region by composers Zaki Nassif, Rahbani Brothers, Elias Rahbani and Karim Mahmoud of Egypt; plus poetry by Gibran Khalil Gibran.
The ensemble is a multi-instrumental orchestra and choir with vocal and instrumental soloists. Its membership represents a wide range of majors on campus and professions off campus. San Luis Obispo dance director Jenna Mitchell will lead the ensemble’s dance troupe in original choreographies that dialogue with the music.
Samuel Shalhoub is acting director of the Arab Music Ensemble for the 2018-19 season while its regular director, Ken Habib, is on sabbatical. Shalhoub has been a long-time participant in the group and is also a lecturer in Cal Poly’s Liberal Studies Department. He earned a Master of Arts degree in performance practice from UC Santa Cruz in 2016. He guest conducted the UCSC Wind Ensemble and Guitar Ensemble, composed for solo guitar, and taught musicianship to undergraduates. Shalhoub performs as a soloist on both guitar and clarinet, offers private music lessons, and works with the nonprofit organization “ArtBeat” to bring music education to the youth of Cambria, California. He is president of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees in Cambria.
The second half of the program will feature a special guest presentation by the Chookasian Folk Music Ensemble, in a performance of traditional and contemporary Armenian music. Based in Fresno, the group is led by John Chookasian, who was born in New York to immigrant parents from Sebastia, in historic Western Armenia. Chookasian and his wife, Barbara, have been playing Armenian, Greek and Middle Eastern folk music for over 40 years. John Chookasian said their mission is “to research, preserve, perpetuate, present, concertize and record traditional Armenian music … and present Armenian culture, for the general public in the U.S. and world!”
Tickets are $14 for the public and $9 for students. Event parking is sponsored by the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are sold at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call 805-SLO-4TIX (805-756-4849). The Music Department offers a 10 percent discount to patrons who buy season tickets to four of its events through the Cal Poly Ticket Office; a 15 percent discount is given on tickets to five or more events.
The concert is sponsored by Cal Poly’s Music Department, College of Liberal Arts and Instructionally Related Activities program. For more information, call the Music Department at 805-756-2406 or visit its calendar website.