Join Club

Story of Afghan refugee couple inspires upcoming Arlington Chorale concert

Hamid Habib Zada tabla photo
Hamid Habib Zada plays the tabla (courtesy Ingrid Lestrud)

(Updated at 10:40 p.m.) When Hamid Habib Zada and Negin Khwalpak fled Afghanistan with their daughter Maram two years ago in hopes of escaping the Taliban, all they brought to America was a backpack full of diapers.

Their story is the inspiration for Arlington Chorale’s new concert, “We Stand Together,” which is premiering this Sunday, June 11 at 5 p.m.

Zada worked as a professional tabla player and Khwalpak as a conductor of Zohra, Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra, before their escape. She currently studies conducting with a private teacher.

The Chorale’s artistic director, Ingrid Lestrud, noticed an online fundraiser for the couple in early 2022.

The fundraiser was posted by Jim Ross of the Alexandria Symphony, where Zada has played previously. After donating, Lestrud reached out to the couple and they quickly developed a relationship based on a shared love for music.

Zada and Khwalpak’s story serves as a guiding light behind Lestrud’s creative efforts to inspire change.

“This is one of the amazing things the show has — the voice of the refugee, the voice of the people that come from a hard situation, the people that started a life from zero and struggled [to get where they are today],” Khwalpak said in a brief interview with ARLnow.

For the upcoming show, Lestrud called upon Los Angeles-based composer Saunder Choi to create a piece that reflects the couple’s experience with loss, uncertainty, relocation and cultural empowerment. Zada will play the tabla during the live performance.

Choi commissioned Iranian poet Sholeh Wolpé to write a poetic narration to accompany his music. Both Choi’s composition and Wolpé’s poem are titled “Exile,” and will debut at Sunday’s concert.

“Poetry and music have the capacity to carry our histories, longings, and dreams,” Choi said in a statement. “Together they can create a bridge between people and cultures where we can meet and truly see one another.”

The couple and Lestrud believe that the music will raise awareness for local refugees and inspire community support. Though Lestrud has worked with Zada in the past, she aims to feature Khwalpak as a conductor later this year.

The concert will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd) at 5 p.m. Tickets are available for $20 on the Chorale’s website. Attendees may also purchase tickets at the door.

Recent Stories

Tens of thousands of dollars in donations, as well as several notable endorsements, are going to Arlington Democratic candidates as this year’s races heat up. Three County Board contenders are…

Morning Notes

Arlington a ‘New Powerhouse in AI’ — “Arlington, VA, traditionally known for its strategic importance in government and defense, is rapidly transforming into a thriving hub for artificial intelligence (AI)…

Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

People will fill some local streets for the “Earth Day Every Day” festival this weekend along Langston Blvd. The festival is taking place this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5…

Unlike our competitors, Well-Paid Maids doesn’t clean your home with harsh chemicals. Instead, we handpick cleaning products rated “safest” by the Environmental Working Group, the leading rating organization regarding product safety.

The reason is threefold.

First, using safe cleaning products ensures toxic chemicals won’t leak into waterways or harm wildlife if disposed of improperly.

Second, it’s better for you and your family. Fragrant chemicals in surface cleaners can expose you to a similar amount of pollutant particles as a busy city road, New Scientist reported.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Northern Virginia Family Practice (NVFP), known for its comprehensive concierge healthcare, is thrilled to introduce Mark Sullivan, MD as the newest member of its family medicine team.

Dr. Sullivan brings a wealth of experience in family medicine, underpinned by a passion for delivering personalized, patient-centered care. He has a distinguished background in managing various medical conditions, emphasizing preventive care, health education and chronic disease management. Dr. Sullivan is adept at employing the latest medical research and technologies to enhance patient outcomes.

Beyond his medical expertise, Dr. Sullivan is committed to the well-being of his community, demonstrating this through his active engagement in local health initiatives and educational programs. His approach to medicine is holistic, focusing on integrating physical, mental and emotional health and patient education to achieve optimal patient wellness.

Dr. Sullivan is now accepting new patients at their newly established Arlington office at 2445 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA, 22206. The office, known for its patient-friendly amenities and state-of-the-art medical facilities, continues to provide the exceptional, personalized care NVFP is known for in its newly upgraded Arlington location.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Fascination

Goth-Dark Wave Dance Party with Belly Dancing and Drag King Show.

                                         Part of Our

Alternative Thursdays for Alternave People with Alternative Lifestyles

                                      Performances By

Belladonna and the Nightshades

Ya Meena

Drag King - Ken Vegas

DJ Michelle Guided

National Chamber Ensemble – Concerto Celebration

We invite you to join us for an extraordinary evening of music at our Season Finale, “Concerto Celebration”! Enjoy several masterworks as NCE performs two famous concertos in an intimate chamber music setting, opening with a delightful work by Chevalier

×

Subscribe to our mailing list