Sunday, April 21, 2013


The concert series is over and it has been a huge hit in Amman. Many Jordanians felt great pride in attending these concerts that featured Arab secular music, nationalistic hymns, American Broadway hits, and songs of love from every sphere of life.

Several Jordanians thanked us as we walked out the door and encouraged us to go internationally to build pride in being Arabs and Middle Easterners. Our songs communicate the traditions and cultures of the region.

The concert was led by Shireen Abu Khader, was choreographed by Lana Abu Khader (very distantly related), and accompanied by the Damascus High Institute of Music in Syria. Portions of the proceeds were given to Syria as a benefit.

Dozan wa Awtar was founded in 2002 to promote choral music and to create unique performing arts projects. Dozan is now the leading secular choir in Jordan with a diverse membership and repertoire.

With six performances this week, we are exhausted. During the afternoon of the first performance on Wednesday, I started feeling the symptoms of a vicious cold. A fever, swollen glands, raspy voice, and nasal and chest congestion did not stop me from performing. I lacked sleep, but I pushed myself because one can always sing with a cold because it is about breath support.

The grueling lead up to performances tired us out. We virtually rehearsed every day a week and a half prior to the productions on an extended schedule with an all-day rehearsal. I've never witnessed cramming like this before. Every other chorus I have been in makes sure rehearsals start and end on time with plenty of days off for rest.

The backstage was incredibly funny. Instead of conserving voices and energy, performers would blare out songs at the top of their lungs while soloists were performing onstage. The pacing and movement was rich. I would find a corner to rest and get away from the energy, but this type of energy pulls one into the dynamics.

Perfume and cologne choked by fragile nasal system. Huge quantities of spray were applied by both male and female performers. The girls here are stunningly beautiful and they wore elegant dresses and loads of meticulously applied make-up, but I was wondering if they thought anyone would smell their perfume. I have to imagine the audience did!

Here is the line-up for the program:

Les Temps des Cathedrales was instrumental and is set is 1482 Paris to honor the building of cathedrals.

Grease: We go together was spirited to open the program with lots of energy and dance.

Grease: Summer Nights - about a youthful summer love affair from the perspectives of girls and boys.

Ya Zahratan Fi Khayali - portrays a lost love as a wilting flower.

Daggi Galbi - expresses a love so strong that life without the loved one is a disgrace. This is a Jordanian song.

Little Mermaid: Kiss the Girl - Sebastian the crab encourages Prince Eric to kiss the silent and beautiful Ariel while floating together through an enchanting lagoon.

Abba: Lay All Your Love on Med - showcases two lover reminiscing about the time they first met and expressing their endless love to each other.

Call Me Maybe: comically expressing some Jordanian women's sense of urgency about getting married.

Yalli Yi'dar Ala Albi: Some say each of us has one love of a lifetime; love is not about finding any person, but it is about finding your soul-mate.


My Fair Lady Medley:

   On the Street where you Live; With a Little Bit of Luck; I've grown accustomed to her face; and I could have Danced all night.

The King and I: Shall we Dance - Anna recalls her first dance and teachers the King of Siam how to dance the polka.

Ana Albi Daleeli - A fustion of oriental and waltz rhthyms that encourages a person to follow one's heart.

Notre Dame de Paris: Belle - Quasimodo, Frollo, and Phoebus sing about their different feelings for Esmerelda: Quasimodo about his growing tenderness for her; Frollow about his fascination with her; and Pheobus about his wish for an affair with her before he marries.

Miss Saigon: Last Night of the World - Chris, a virtuous American GI, promises to take the Vietnamese bargirl, Kim, with him when he leaves Vietnam.

Miss Saigon: Bui Doi - Years after leaving Vietname, the American ex-GI, John, heatedly tells his friend Chris about the aid organization whose mission is to connect street children conceived during the Vietnam War with their American fathers.

Baba Yetu: The Lord's Prayer in Swahili

Hilwa Ya Baladi: With soul, passion, and devotion for one's country, the revolutionary song portrays the epitome of patriotic belonging.

At the last minute, we cancelled Biktop Esmek Ya Bladi, a Syrian song of patriotism and devotion  to one's homeland in the face of hardships.

It was a great peformance. Lots of love and drama flowed forth on the last night as the group was breaking up for the season. Many people are around only for a year or a semester. The group enjoyed some time together at a local restaurant.


  1. Bravo, bravo!!! Bravissimo!! This is such a delight to read, I am so happy that it was all a huge success. Blessings in abundance for one and all who worked hard to make it happen. And what a reminder of gifts, like music, that bind us together in harmony - literally and figuratively - and in love.

    I am so glad that this worked out so well for you!

    1. Thanks, Fran. You would have been proud of the music and dance. It was brilliant. Music and the arts create terrific possibilities for cross-cultural understanding. The performance brought some people to tears.