(apologies for late posting)
On Friday, 24.12.10, in the afternoon, the little hall in the building of the local council of Salem, a village located close to Nablus – was packed. We gathered there, ten guests from different places in Israel (Kibbutz Shoval, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Taybeh), and a large number of local residents, adults and mostly children, to see and listen to the playing of the pupils of Salem’s music center, in a concert marking the end of the first activity year of the center.
The center was jointly established by Jubier, a local musician, and members of the Villages Group – a small group of Israeli volunteers who have been regularly visiting Salem for the last eight years. This joint effort, backed by financial support from private donors abroad (from Australia and the US), lead to the opening of the first class of the music center, in March of this year. The 15 pupils chosen for this first class are the first children from Salem having the opportunity to systematically learn to play instruments and work together in a musical ensemble.
The great investment of the founding team of the center – Jubier, the initiator, Amid – the head teacher, and Fadi – the administrative manager, bore fruit that have been acknowledged and deeply appreciated by every visitor who have come to the center’s classes, listened to the impressive progress of the pupils and watched how much they enjoy playing and working together. Last month the music center in Salem hosted Dr. Felicity Laurence, from Newcastle University in UK, a renowned expert in musical education for children. The lessons Felicity gave the pupils of the center enabled her to evaluate the high abilities developed by the pupils in such a short time and the great potential in continuing to work with them, a potential it’s important to continue to realize.
The concert held on Dec. 24 is a peak event and a turning point in terms of the exposure of the music center, its teachers and pupils to the village community. The fact that most of the audience filling the hall were children, might indicate that most of all that there is a great desire for musical education among the young generation in Salem. This evident need gives rise to many possibilities for development and growth of the center. Trying to implement them is the biggest challenge facing the music center in the next years.
The concert itself lasted about an hour and the program consisted of Palestinian national songs (including the anthems ‘Biladi, Biladi’ and ‘Mawtani’), popular Arab songs (such as by Fairuz) and one piece from the western classical repertoire (Ode to Freedom from Bethoven’s 9th symphony). The concert began with greetings from Adli Ishtyah – the head of the local council in Salem, and Erella Dunayevsky from the Villages Group, who translated to Arabic and then sang (in Hebrew) Hannah Szenes‘s poem ‘A Walk to Caesarea’.
We all hope that the special circumstances that enabled the opening of the center and its operation this year – the convergence of determined local initiative and consistent cooperation of friends and supporters from Israel and abroad – will continue to exist, so the music center in Salem will continue to operate, develop and thrive in the next few years.
Check our YouTube channel for short videos documenting the children musical progress in the Salem music center during the first year.
The Villages Group