What you can experience on day four of the 2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music The Syrian musicians of DIO will help Kalamazoo and the Michigan Fe

DIO Trio

DIO trio

What you can experience on day four of the 2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music

The Syrian musicians of DIO will help Kalamazoo and the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music welcome new members of the community who are refugees from war torn Syria.

Three towering talents. Three strands of musical influences. Three charismatic individuals. One trio. An acronym of its three members (Dima, Issam, Omar), who have been colleagues during their studies at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus (since 1995), as well as having jointly performed in a great many works together.

Dima Orsho, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory holds a Masters degree in Opera Performance, and is an established and seasoned performer, recorded artist, and collaborator with renowned international musicians such as Yo-Yo Ma. Having learned clarinet as a second instrument; she brings an instrument player’s sensibility to her vocalizations, adding to the magic of the trio’s pieces and becoming an innovator in the world of Middle Eastern music, in her own right.

Oud player Issam Rafea, also a veteran performer and recorded artist, has served as the conductor of the Arab Orchestra at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. He is a true virtuoso and innovator of the Oud; incessantly working to coax new sounds, harmonic combinations, and emotions out of this traditional instrument. He has collaborated with many artists of world renown, such as having played with—and made musical arrangements—for world famous British pop group "Gorillaz."

Percussionist Omar al-Musfi holds a Master's degree in Performing Arts from NIU in DeKalb, and is currently director of NIU Middle Eastern ensemble in his alma mater. He is well known for his amiable presence, and collaborative work ethic; as well as his distinctive and intuitive rhythmic creations—combining a classically trained sensibility with a fluid and colorful playing style. His collaborations include working with top musical stars Shakira and Sting.

DIO offers a varied repertoire, rooted in the rich and diverse musical heritage of the Arab Middle East—both ancient, and contemporary. The result is a music steeped in cultural heritage, modern and sleek in presentation, yet also nuanced, soulful, and authentic.

See them at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at Western Michigan University's beautifully restored Heritage Hall (formerly East Hall)


The full festival lineup for 2016

The 2016 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is Oct. 29-Nov. 2 at various venues across Kalamazoo.

Desert Dreams accompanied by Earth Spirit Duo — Master of the Native American flute, Gary Stroutsos, and festival favorite, percussionist Carolyn Koebel. 11 a.m. Oct. 29, Kalamazoo Nature Center. Free.

Friends of the Gamelan — Traditional Javanese compositions and contemporary works by members of Friends of the Gamelan. 2 p.m. Oct. 29, at the Kalamazoo Public Library. Free.

The Rose Ensemble —The Multiple award-winning Rose Ensemble, 2 p.m. Oct. 30, Dalton Center, Western Michigan University. $25/$20 senior /$5 student

Nefesh Mountain Jewish Americana that blends Jewish and Bluegrass traditions, 11 a.m. family friendly performance, Free. 7 p.m. in concert with their band, Oct. 30, Congregation of Moses, $15/$5 student

Jonathan Ryan — Multi-prize winning organist, 6 p.m. Oct. 31. Come-in-costume, short family program of organ music. Free. preceded by Trunk or Treat event in the parking lot of First Congregational Church from 5-6 p.m. Organ concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 31, First Baptist Church. $15/$5 student

DIO — A trio of Syrian musicians, Heritage Hall, Western Michigan University, 7 p.m. Nov. 1. $15/$5 student

Sound & Spirit of Southwest Michigan — Artists present music from diverse faiths and genres. First Baptist, 7 p.m. Nov. 2. Free.

We will have details on the Sound and Spirit of Southwest Michigan performance in our next 2016 MFSM Update.

For more information and tickets, please visit our website.


Special thanks to our festival sponsors, including SignArt.

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The 2016 appearance of The Rose Ensemble is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Crane Group.


The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is a 501 (c) (3) arts organization, which presented its first full festival in 2001, and is supported by grants from government and foundation sources, and contributions from individuals and businesses.

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