Establishing peace and harmony between Israelis and Palestinians seems like an impossible task, but the Jewish, Christian and Muslim members of the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus have done just that amongst themselves. And they hope to spread that harmony to others through their music.
Here is an excerpt of a press release about their upcoming U.S. tour as well as a video of them singing the Phillip Phillips hit “Home.”
The YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus is bringing their message of peace to the US, performing in five US cities in June. The choir, an ensemble of high school students from East and West Jerusalem, includes both Palestinian and Israeli singers, who through music and dialogue, are able to see beyond their differences and conflicts and work together for peace in their community and beyond.
Founded and directed by Micah Hendler, a graduate of Yale, with the goal of using collective music-making to create community and foster shared identity, the group use their live performances to inspire people to work for peace. Hendler explains, “The YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus combines my passions for youth singing and Middle East peacemaking in a creative approach to conflict transformation that I believe can have a significant impact.”The Chorus and its message have inspired many people, including Miel de Botton, a London-based singer-songwriter who is the daughter of financier and art collector Gilbert and sister of writer and philosopher Alain. Miel is also a philanthropist and after seeing them perform, she brought them to London, as she explains:
“I came across them 2 and a half years ago through the Jerusalem Foundation and was so inspired by them, I decided to support them. This December they came to London and I sang with them at a fantastic concert at the Aldwych Theatre.” Miel went on, “ I am so thrilled that these young men and women who are often raised in the mistrust of each other have found a joyous way of connecting through music. During the hostilities this summer, they braved huge obstacles to rehearse with each other. They did so even in the bunkers, I was moved to tears…”