Brothers hold classical concert to help Syrian kids

Brandy Baker
The Detroit News

Twins Omar and Ziad Fehmi Rouba wanted to find a way to help Syrian children struggling without food, shelter or school in the war-torn country.

On Sunday afternoon, seven Oakland County students ages 10 to 17 showcased their classical music chops by playing a program of Beethoven, Bach, Haydn and Chopin at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Commerce Township.

“It's the small act of kindness that makes a difference,” said mom Rouba Ali Fehmi before a piano concert conceived by her twin sons to raise money to help struggling Syrian children.

Ziad, a Detroit Country Day student, put together a film that kicked off the concert, showcasing the plight of the Syrian children and the family partnered with the Center for Arab American Philanthropy and Irina's Piano Studio to develop the concert in which each student played a couple classical pieces.

Maha Freij, ACCESS Center for Arab American Philanthropy deputy executive director and chief financial officer, welcomed the visitors, then spoke directly to the young musicians who made the day possible.

“We are so proud of you,” she said. “We feel that there is a bright future because of you.”

Stepping to the Steinway grand piano, Brian Jiang, 10, from Deerfield Elementary launched into “Bad News Blues” by Olson. The nearly two-hour program ended with a bit of musical champagne with a duet from piano instructors Irina Semenova and Mary Siciliano on Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 5” and Strauss’ “Chatterbox Polka.”

“It’s from children, to children,” said Ali Fehmi of what made the event special.