Directed by Scott Marcus, the UCSB Middle East Ensemble will present their annual spring concert on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The Ensemble will present a great variety of music and dance from throughout the Middle East. UCSB Persian music lecturer, Bahram Osqueezadeh, will perform a solo on the santur (the Persian hammered dulcimer). Nick Ragheb and Nader Mansi, Cantor at Coptic churches in Simi Valley and Oxnard, will lead the Ensemble in a Coptic hymn for Palm Sunday. Sarah Salim will perform a song by the Egyptian superstar singer Umm Kulthum (d. 1975), Maz Kavandish will lead the ensemble in two Persian songs, Andrea Fishman will perform a Sephardic song from Morocco, and Sam Khattar will perform a song by the Egyptian singer/composer Sayyid Darwish (d.1923) popularized by the Syrian singer Sabah Fakhri (b.1933). As always, the Ensemble’s Dance Company will perform a wonderful variety of dances, from Egyptian, Greek, and Turkish cultures and an Arab-Latin fusion dance, with choreographies by Cris! Basimah, Jatila Van der Veen, and Alexandra King. In a special highlight, Ellen Chang, a long-time member of the Ensemble’s Dance Company, will perform an extended dance solo. Finally, the ensemble will once again present a dance by the UCSB Armenian Student Association’s Yeraz Dance Team.