A Concert titled "Convivencia" Held for "A Commemoration of 9-11, In Celebration of our Common Humanity"

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Raindrop Turkish House College Station/Bryan Branch along with St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Hillel Foundation and The Institute of Interfaith Dialog presented "Texas Early Music Project's Convivencia" on Sunday, September 11 in a program called "A Commemoration of 9-11, In Celebration of our Common Humanity." Convivencia refers to the 'coexistence' of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities in medieval Spain and by extension the cultural interaction and exchange fostered by such proximity.

The program explored, through music, some of the relationships between the three great cultures of early Spain: Muslim, Jewish, and Christian - that co-existed peacefully on the Iberian Penninsula during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Islamic Spain during these times was an extraordinarily tolerant culture in which learning was prized. In the library of the caliph of Cordoba were at least 40,000 books; most Western monasteries were fortunate to have 400! Many works on mathematics, astronomy, physics, and medicine had been translated from Greek, Persian and Hindu sources into Arabic, and these books were at this time being translated from Arabic into Latin through the combined efforts of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars. Co-operation, Tolerance, Co-existence – these were the hallmarks of this extraordinary time. And, as we commemorated tenth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the United States, these are qualities much needed in our own day.

Before the concert, guests enjoyed various art and cultural exhibitions and had a chance to taste delicious foods of Mediterranean Cuisine.

The concert featured Medieval and Middle-Eastern songs and dances, along with Sixteenth Century Spanish Polyphony for voices and instruments. Performers were outstanding singers and instrumentalists, with ouds, santur, recoders, psaltery, viol, and other instruments of the period; all are members of the award-winning Texas Early Music Project, under the direction of Daniel Johnson.

The concert ended up with a prayer that was created using texts taken from the Torah, the New Testament, and the Qur'an, each offering a similar message of peace among men.

(September 11, 2011, College Station - Bryan, TX)

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