April 2005, Vol. 6 No. 5
Presenting AUB to the Outside World on
Film and Video
Al-Bustan Annual Festival Attracts AUB Community
Choral Concert Workshop and Guitar
Festival Held at the Assembly Hall
Civilization Sequence Program Screens Falstaff
Oleanna Play Reading: Power Dynamics and
Book Review: In the Path of Hizbullah by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
A Tree Grows in Hanine
On March 12, when the AUB Choir and Choral Society held their third annual Choral Classic Workshop Concert for high school students, the Assembly Hall was transformed into a haven for the enjoyment of delectable music. The hall started filling up to capacity by 6:30 pm, as a large, diverse audience of high school and university students, faculty, staff, and friends of the AUB community began filing in.
The choir members, all dressed in black, were joined by a select group of high school student singers from “area high schools,” namely the American Community School, the Universal College of Aley, Broummana High School, International College, and the Rafic Hariri High School. Because of recent events, the area school students were less numerous than in previous years. They had been rehearsing for a day and a half with experienced AUB choir members and were finally ready to participate in a festive night of music led by conductor Paul Meers and assistant conductor Reem Deeb, who was the only non-student soloist. They were also to be accompanied by Alexey Schmitov on the organ.
Entitled “Music of Lebanon, Early America, and F.J. Haydn,” the concert aimed at incorporating traditional Lebanese music with African American songs. The program commenced with Lebanon's national anthem, “Kulluna Lil Watan,” written by Wafic Sabra. Lenox, a musical piece by Lewis Edson consisting of traditional Christian hymns, was next, followed by
a performance of William Billings’ “Chester,” a song based on glorifying America and deriding England against the backdrop of the loaded revolutionary atmosphere in the United States after the American Revolution in 1778. This was followed by two original pieces in Arabic, titled “Mahlal Ishe,” a traditional pastoral Lebanese song, and “Ya Ashiqatal Wardi,” Zaki Nassif’s renowned romantic masterpiece.
The choir then presented The Great Organ Mass, composed by Franz Joseph Haydn. The Mass, consisting of two pieces, Benedictus qui venit and Agnus Dei, were sung in Latin. The final piece in the program, arranged by Copland and Fine, was Ching-A-Ring-Chawl, a song that mimics traditional African-American music, especially in its refrain, which imitates the sound of the African banjo.
The AUB Choir, which is made up of students taking a one-credit course in music, usually merges with the Choral Society, a group of non-student adult singers, in order to present the annual combined AUB Choir and Choral Society concert. Soprano Arifi Waked, who has been a choir member for almost three years, described this year’s performance and the rehearsals that preceded it as “extremely intense, but enjoyable and gratifying.” In comparing this year’s workshop to the one she participated in last year, she said that working with smaller groups of high school students usually yields more fruitful results, which may be the reason why this year’s concert was “richer and more professional.” Scheduled for May is another AUB Choir and Choral Society concert, entitled “Joseph Haydn and His American Contemporaries.”
The 2nd Spanish-American Guitar Festival was also held at the Assembly Hall during the first week of March. The opening nights, on March 4 and 5, featured the performances of Lucas Martino Garro, Mauricio Dfaz, Nirse Gonzalez, and Jorge Herrera. Next, on March 6 and 7, were the concerts of Edwin Guevara, Eduardo Baranzano, Iliana Matos, Ricardo Jesus, and Gallen Garcia. The festival concluded on March 8, with guitarists Alieksey Vianna and Jose Antonio Escobar.