Smith Memorial Benefit Concert Celebrates Arab World Music & Dance

KARAMA: An Arab Music & Dance Celebration will be onstage at Tibbits on September 17 at 7:30pm for the annual Smith Memorial Concert.

COLDWATER – The annual Smith Memorial Concert at Tibbits Opera House will feature KARAMA: An Arab Music & Dance Celebration at 7:30pm September 17, kicking off the community-wide Cultivating Community event schedule.

Karama means “generosity”; the name celebrates in the Arabic language and a shared ethic of generosity. For the event at Tibbits, Karim Nagi leads a music and dance ensemble that shares and expresses traditional and ethnic creations from varying regions of the Arab world. A verbal oratory is woven into the performance to help audiences expand their understanding of what they are watching. From Egypt to Algeria, Syria to Saudi Arabia, Iraq to Yemen, the skilled dancers and virtuosic musicians will generously encapsulate this broad culture into a memorable evening of broader cultural understanding.

The annual benefit, organized by Diane Smith Pridgeon and her sister Susanne Smith Wise, honors the memories of their family Ruth, Robert, Douglas and Dean Smith. Years ago when their father and two brothers died in a small plane crash, the farming community rallied around the family to help them harvest their fields. The annual musical celebration, as Pridgeon has explained, “is a way for us to give back to the community that loved us back to life…”

Pridgeon continued, “The annual concert has never showcased a dance troupe; I’m thrilled to share this with our area. In addition to offering an evening of entertainment, this is a chance to expand both minds and hearts. Music is a natural medium to show we are more alike than different. Here’s to celebrating our neighbors and friends!”

KARAMA is one of more than two dozen events taking place throughout Branch County and hosted by groups including Branch Intermediate School District, Branch District Library, Hope Café, AIRA, KCC Grahl Center, and Branch Pride to name just a few.

Proceeds from the concert this year will fund future diversity programming including other events in the Cultivating Community schedule. Over the years, different non-profits have benefited from this event, including Habitat for Humanity, the local food pantry, the health clinic, Hospice, Family Promise, Tibbits, and others. Last year the choir programs of area high schools were the beneficiaries.

Tickets for this benefit performance are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and a special rate of $30 for families. All prices include fees. Tickets are available online at, at the Tibbits Admin Office at 93 W. Chicago Street 9 am to 5 pm weekdays, by calling 517-278-6029, as well as at the performance. There are no additional fees for ordering online.

The performance is held at the beautiful historic Tibbits Opera House, 14 S. Hanchett Street, in Coldwater. It begins at 7:30pm with doors to the theatre, Ghost Light Bar, and Art Gallery open at 7pm. For more information, call or visit