The voice of a nation

The voice of a nation
Canadian children’s choir welcome Syrian refugees with touching rendition of Arabic song.

As the refugee crisis continues to grow in numbers and severity, it is hard to imagine that millions of displaced people around the world will not have a home this festive season.

Canada’s announcement that they will accept 25,000 Syrians into the country by February 2016, was followed by this heartwarming performance – the video has already had over 815,000 views.

The Ottawa choir’s performance of Tala’ al-Badru ‘Alayna (The Full Moon Rose Over Us) was a touching rendition of the song sung to welcome Prophet Mohammad upon his arrival in Medina from Mecca.

“Every year we try to touch different cultures, and a year ago we started planning to do a Muslim-inspired piece,” Robert Filion told the CBC. “We came up with that tune … and the rest is history.”

Around 285 students, between year four and six, from French schools in the Ottawa area performed the piece publically for the first time on Dec 3.

“It’s actually the world premiere of the piece that people are seeing on the video,” Robert Filion, a musical teacher at École secondaire publique De La Salle in Ottawa, told the Star.

“One of my dreams was to have an Islamic song to do, but the Islamic world does not really have a choral tradition like we know. There’s very little choral music so I’ve been looking for the last three years for pieces.”

Last year, he enlisted the help of a local composer to create an original arrangement of a song that is widely considered to be one of the oldest in the world.

The incredible response from around the world has surprised Filion.

“As musicians and composers and singers, our goal is to touch the audience,” he said, “but to see that something goes like this, around the world, with people we did not intend to sing this to . . . is just amazing.”

“That type of reaction is taking something that we did and taking it to another level, it’s just amazing. It’s just what we strive to do. It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does, it’s just so gratifying,” he said.





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