At a time when the world seems to be losing its humanity, ACS students, under the guidance of their teachers, put on their annual “Harmony for Humanity” concert in the Upper School auditorium on November 19, 2015. The theme was love, joy, and happiness.
Led by music teachers Nicholas and Ingrid Thornton and Robert Fedorak, the ACS Middle School Choir and the High School Band, Jazz Band and Orchestra offered a rich program of songs, medleys, and musical compositions that delighted the audience of parents, teachers, and friends. Additionally, there were some solo numbers by students Zeina El Zomor, Razan Wazan, Riwa Saab, Jana Hamade, and Pia Abu-Mikhael. Suzanne Berry’s own electronic musical composition also premiered at the concert.
“What ‘the world needs is love, sweet love,’ and we hope we will give some of this tonight,” said Nick Thornton in his welcome remarks, quoting Jackie DeShannon’s song (lyrics by Hal David).
Indeed, middle schoolers’ were all about “sweet love,” when they interpreted the songs “Thousand Years,” and “Counting Stars,” singing straight to the hearts of the audience.
The 15-member HS Band with winds, brass, guitars and drums then performed three pieces, followed by the 12-member Jazz Band who created a groovy mood with their brass instruments, saxophones, flutes, keyboard and drums. Finally, the 24-member ACS Orchestra impressed with its wind instruments, violins, double bass and percussions.
“Students meet four times a week to practice their music,” explained Fedorak, the band leader. “These concerts give students the motivation they need to keep on practicing, because they get a real sense of pride when they perform well.”
Following the concert, Deputy Head of School Karim Abu Haydar sent out an email to the community, praising the teachers and students for an outstanding performance.
“I was again utterly amazed by the performance of our talented students,” wrote Abu Haydar. “This does not just happen; it takes many hours of practice, teaching, rehearsing, and perseverance. It takes teachers who are willing to conduct, play instruments, set up the stage, model persistence, be available to the students at many levels.”
Harmony for Humanity concerts became an annual tradition at ACS about five years ago. They are inspired by the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an international network of concerts that “use the power of music to reaffirm our commitment to tolerance and humanity.”
The DP World Music Day was created in response to the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter and talented musician Daniel Pearl at the hands of extremists in Karachi, Pakistan. Pearl’s family and friends came together to establish the Daniel Pearl Foundation which promotes cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications.