|The experts setting up before the presentation.|
When Hazami asked me to help Hafez, Hanna, and Hicham with their presentation about Arab music at Greenfield School, I expected an engaging lecture; there is no way I would have guessed that by the end of the assembly that the students would literally be dancing and clapping in the auditorium. As their teacher pointed out, this extraordinary student engagement is made even more amazing by the fact that this presentation took place during the last period of the day on Halloween, when all the children have on their minds’ is trick-or-treating. Now I’m just wondering about the date of our next school presentation/debke experience.
|Hanna Khoury, Hicham Chami, Hafez, and
Hafez Kotain fielding questions from Greenfield students.
And in an hour and half Hafez Kotain, Hanna Khoury, and Hicham Chami covered so much information. They began with a primer on their instruments (the violin, qanun, and dumbek) and how they are used in Arab music. For the record, the Greenfield students liked the qanun the most; Hicham was extremely happy. Then they traced the history of modern Arab music as the cultural center moved from the Ottoman empire (Morocco was independent during this time), to Egypt and Umm Kulthum, to Lebanon and Fairuz, while also giving a brief overview of maqamat, or Arab scales. Throughout this talk they played examples of the different genres of music, from ‘Aziza to Longa Shahnaz. All of this was wonderful, especially the kids’ responsiveness, but nothing could prepare me for what happened during the finale.
|The dabke finale that lit up the room.|