Monday, October 11, 2010

A gift of music

The That's My World meme, hosted by Klaus and his team, Wren, Sandy, Sylvia, Louise, and Fishing Guy, celebrates two years of blogger-guided tours today!
As a birthday gift I offer not the usual built environment but a joyous cultural event instead.
No, these are not Muslims at prayer.
They are singers taking their final bow!

While in Jerusalem Saturday night, I quite by accident chanced upon a free concert.
And beautiful and inspiring it was!
The Ranot Ensemble had come on their bus all the way from the Arava, Israel's southern desert, to perform in the church of Notre Dame de Jerusalem.
For the past 16 years the group's several dozen members volunteer their voices and hearts to keep alive the most beautiful and moving of Israel's and the world's songs.
During the day they work as computer scientist and mathematician, veterinary surgeon, librarian, laboratory technician in the dairy farm, tour guide, and farmer as residents of Kibbutzim Ketura, Lotan, Grofit, Yotvata, Samar, and Shaharut village.
I think the Ranot singers were invited especially for the meeting of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations that was taking place at Notre Dame.
The Jewish singers had no problem singing "Ave Maria"--in Latin--, standing under the big crucifix and the big statue of Mary and child.
(We have come a long way. )
When the singers moved into Gospel songs in English, women in the audience from Africa in their colorful dresses could not sit still. They stood up and clapped and swayed to the rhythm.
After many encores, the concert ended.
The Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center was beautiful by night.
The singers boarded their bus for the long ride home, home to the desert.
I went home with a song in my heart and I'm sure the hundreds of visitors from abroad did too.
Thanks to dedicated and idealistic people like the Ranot Ensemble the desert is blooming, not only with agriculture but with culture!
More about Ranot Vocal Ensemble with videos of their songs.
Ranot on YouTube and Facebook.
Map and website of the Eilot Region communities.


jennyfreckles said...

That sounds wonderful - what a lovely event to chance upon. The acoustics in some of those old churches are incredible. I didn't visit Israel expecting much in the way of music but I found joyful music everywhere and people really enjoying singing (and dancing). I brought a CD home too.

Rob and Mandy said...

Happy anniversary! What better post as this one to celebrate!

Jew Wishes said...

Congratulations/Mazel Tov on your blog anniversary! You have brought your readers two years of invaluable, historical information, and beautiful photographs.


Dina said...

Wait wait!
It is not my blog's anniversary. The birthday is of the meme That's My World Tuesday which was founded by Klaus, bird- and nature- photographer extraordinaire.

I am just a participant in the meme, since its first day.
Hope you all will join us too.

Pietro said...

The "Ave Maria": what a sublimity. This is an intense and moving post, Dina. The concert must have been splendid indeed.

VP said...

An interesting and picturesque event, I like your pictures but this time your words are even better!

Anonymous said...

Continuing when language has to end, music takes over and beyond.

Please have a wonderful Tuesday.

daily athens

Hels said...

There is something soooo impressive about a large choir!

Even if an individual singer is really talented, he/she cannot have the heart-moving power of a large group of people singing together.

And to perform in the church of Notre Dame de Jerusalem, which I presume has good acoustics, is even better.

J Bar said...

Terrific shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Dina: Neat captures of the singing group, your timing was perfection.

Petrea said...

I enjoy your photos and your description of this event is even more fantastic. I agree with VP!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing experience - and in such beautiful surroundings too. Thanks for sharing.

Luna Miranda said...

what a marvelous event it must be--beautiful music in this this great venue. i love your photos.

Hilda said...

I didn't hear them, yet the hair on my arms stood on end while I was reading your account. It must have been wonderful. Bless them all.

Robin said...

What a wonderful thing to stumble across!

My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

Kay said...

I love this! You were so lucky to come upon this wonderful concert. I love best the part about the Jewish singers having no problem with singing Ave Maria.

This is a long way from my son-in-law's Christian family telling Tif that if any word of Buddhism is mentioned during the wedding, they would leave.

Francisca said...

Oh, Dina, I'm so glad I came back to this post. I am not religious, yet I adore church choir music, any house of worship, any religion (I was in a semi-professional choir myself as a young teenager, and I remember singing Handel's Messiah in an Anglican church with four choirs while crying). I just listened to several pieces sung by the Ranot Ensemble, and they are inspiring indeed. Even on my lousy little PC speakers, the hair on my skin raises as I listen to them. How wonderful it would have been to be with you to hear them sing Ave Maria or sway with the Africans while singing Gospels! Thank you for this post!