Beirut Chants Festival: A revolutionary Christmas concert

This year’s Christmas spirit was intertwined with a revolutionary one.
by Sandra Abdelbaki

7 December 2019 | 21:03

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sandra Abdelbaki
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 7 December 2019 | 21:03

Reem Deeb, Soprano during her performance at Beirut Chants Festival. (Photo courtesy of Beirut Chants Festival).

BEIRUT: For two hours on a Friday night, people took a short break from the hustle of the current situation to indulge in a peaceful, yet revolutionary music performance.

As a patriotic move around the holidays, an ensemble from the Balamand University Choir and Reem Deeb, Soprano, holder of two doctorates of Music, and a university Music Lecturer, presented a unique musical performance as part of Beirut Chants Festival’s 12th edition at the Assembly Hall of the American University of Beirut. The founder of Beirut Chants this year wanted to unite the Lebanese people through music and chants of coexistence and peace.

This year’s Christmas spirit was intertwined with a revolutionary one. In order to fulfill the two spirits, the choice of songs during the performance ranged between those two ends. Songs such as “Salam” by Dr. Riad Sarkis, MD, “Rejoice Greatly” by G. F. Handel, and “O Holy Night” by A.Adam were performed.

“This year, I wanted to do this performance elegantly in my way. It’s my way of delivering peace and hope in this Christmas,” said Deeb. To her, a revolution spirit was reflected through her peaceful music performance. Goodwill and peace were the two messages she portrayed throughout the night.

What people didn’t expect, however, was a surprise song that sparked the performance and granted Beirut respect and honor in times of the revolution. For the first time this year, Deeb and Dr. Riad Sarkis prepared a surprise anthem that sounded as a perfect contribution for today’s situation. Some of the song lyrics translate as follows: “In times of pain and poverty, Beirut cries for people’s hunger and people's eyes weep for people’s thirst, yet, the Christmas spirit gives people back their dignity and faith.”

“It was definitely a surprise, not a single person knew about it, not even the event planners,” said Deeb.

From the youngest child to the oldest senior, the audience was thrilled by the impact of this anthem as the performance came to an end.

“The surprise anthem was definitely something I did not expect, yet it was a beautiful addition to this festival, especially in times of hopelessness,” said an AUB student who attended the performance.

Performers also included Gina Matta Razzouk as the Ensemble director, Ignace Bteich as the pianist, Matta Matta as the Ensemble Accompanist, and Charbel Mansour as Ensemble pianist. Ensemble members included Dana Jazzar, Tatiana Metry, Karim Moutraji, WassimWehbe, Aline Saba, and Jacky Jabbour.

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