St. Louis Symphony performs for immigrants and refugees -

St. Louis Symphony performs for immigrants and refugees

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

Members of the St. Louis Symphony performed for more than 100 immigrants and refugees from Syria, Bosnia, Somalia, Bhutan and other countries during the a special concert Monday.

The St. Louis Symphony’s Annual Welcome Concert was held at the International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL). 

The Strings of Arda, a St. Louis Symphony ensemble that specializes in playing “world music,” shared the stage with two refugee guest musicians. Amir Salesevic, from Bosnia, played the accordion and Khaldoun Hreedeen, from Syria, played the drums. Both were sponsored through the IISTL in their resettlement in 1994 and 2016 respectively.

“We hope that seeing Amir and Khaldoun performing with St. Louis Symphony musicians serves as a symbol of hope for people who are still adjusting to a new country,” said St. Louis Symphony Director of Community Programs Maureen Byrne. 

Students from Gateway Science Academy International Orchestra and Ferguson Middle School Orchestra attended the performance. Gateway Science Academy students were part of Symphony in Your School this semester, and performed along with the Symphony musicians on the final two pieces.

“It was a beautiful experience,” said International Institute of St. Louis Vice President & Director of Education Anita Barker. “It was a treat for so many people.”

In addition to hearing beautiful music, audience members heard some amazing stories.

One of the students performed with a violin that has been in his family since the 1700s. His father had to bury it underground during the Bosnian War, and was able to recover it at the end of the war.

The concert was part of the St. Louis Symphony’s Music Without Boundaries program sponsored in part by MetLife Foundation.

The goal of the concert was to make the immigrants and refugees feel connected to their new home.

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