Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tears of Joy for the Moffet Ensemble at City Hall

The Moffet Choir singing Tik Tik Tik, with four soloists
around the microphone. Photo by Pamela Yau - Art in City Hall
Anyone who came to the opening reception for Al-Bustan’s Art Exhibit at City Hall on February 25th probably saw me cry while speaking about the Moffet Arab Arts After-School Program.

My duty was to briefly introduce the Moffet Ensemble (choir and drummers) as well as our music teachers Hanna Khoury, Hafez Kotain, and Serge El Helou. As straightforward as that should have been, when I started speaking about the program—how hard everyone has worked, how inspiring the children’s effort is—I choked up and couldn’t speak without crying. People may have thought it a bit strange that I would be so emotional when speaking about the kids; then when the Moffet Ensemble actually performed, I think everyone could understood why I would be so emotional: this is such a special group of kids!

The Moffet students were simply amazing! The Choir performed two songs in Arabic and one relatively simple English song: Tik Tik Tik, Yalli Zara’tu, and Rhythm of the Rain. They sang beautifully, especially considering that the majority of them are not of Arab descent; thus, the language in which they are singing was previously foreign to them. 

The Moffet Drummers before they amazed the audience.
Photo by Pamela Yau - Art in City Hall
The next half of the performance -- the percussion -- really leveled the audience. The two Moffet drumming groups (advanced and beginner) performed individually, together, and finally with Hafez in a call-and-response style. During the performance, every action was done with amazement: people shook their heads with amazement; they audibly sighed with amazement; they expressed their amazement with exclamations like “wonderful” and " At this point, you would think I am used to this; however, this wonder and awe always feels unique.

So, I cried because I am very inspired by how hard the Moffet Ensemble works to be better drummers and singers (and people!). In spite of the many obstacles that these kids face on a daily basis, they still do so much work in our program. I can’t wait to see what the Moffet Ensemble will do in their upcoming performances this Spring!

- Max Dugan, Program Coordinator

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