2014 Abrahamic Faiths Concert

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This year’s concert, One G-d, Many Voices, was an absolute feast of variety.  It was also a full house, which was wonderful to see. With performers and audience, I
think we had about two hundred people. It was standing room only for some, so next year we will need to squeeze in more chairs.

Australian International Islamic College Girls Choir

Our MC, Sultan Deen opened the night with a passage from the Koran and an acknowledgement of the indigenous owners of the land. Then he introduced our first act, which was the Australian International Islamic College Girls’ Choir. Two students read passages from the Koran in Arabic and English about the challenges we humans face and the blessings of G-d that we receive. This was followed by a beautiful rendition of “Children of the World”, a song about children of the world being united by faith. The students finished with an expression of their desire to see peace, justice and understanding between peoples of different faiths.

 

Clairvaux MacKillop College choir

Our second act was also a school choir. It was the mixed senior school choir from Clairvaux McKillop College. Introduced by senior student Madeline with a prayer for peace, the students sang with magnificent harmonies, “The Beauty of the Earth” and “May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.” These pieces were put to beautiful new melodies by modern English composer, John Rutter.


Cantor, David Bentley

Our third performer was Cantor David Bentley of Brisbane Progressive Synagogue. David introduced each of his pieces with a short explanation about its relevance in the Jewish tradition. David’s opening song was from the Sabbath service, a prayer for peace. His second piece was quite different. He chanted the first chapter of Genesis to a lovely old English chant. He sang it in both Hebrew and English. David finished with a Jewish favourite, the song that is sung on a Friday evening to welcome the Sabbath. “Lecha Dodi” Some of the Jewish people in the audience sang along.

 

David & Dale MacGregor

Next we enjoyed the original compositions of the Reverend David MacGregor, which he performed with his wife, Dale. With a guitar and two melodic voices, this husband/wife team shared their faith through their music. The songs were:
• You Keep Calling Me and I Will Follow
• Storm Breaker
• Journey Deeper
• Blessed are the Peacemakers.


Yitzhak Yedid & the Con Klesmer band

Our final act in this night of great music from the three Abrahamic faiths, was Yitzhak Yedid and the Con Klesmer band. Yitzhak teaches music at the Griffith University Conservatorium of Music. He is a Jazz musician and Klezmer is a form of Jazz that developed in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Six of Yitzhak’s Jazz students came along to the concert to play and sing four Klesmer songs. The songs they chose were not religious in flavour, but they brought the haunting minor keys and also upbeat saxophone voice that are integral to Klesmer. The songs were sung in Yiddish, the language of the Jewish villages in Europe. The songs were:
• Cigarette: about a man just back from war, and all he wants is a cigarette.
• Love Song
• A Modern Klezmer composition by American composer, John Zon
• To Me You Are Beautiful
With two vocalists, a base player, drummer, violinist, saxophonist and Yitzhak on keyboard, the Con Klezmer band gave us a grand finale to a wonderful night.

 

Sultan Deen's fabulous curry

Sultan thanked all of the performers, the Forum members who brought the concert together and Derek Griffin and Frank Thomson for their wonderful help with sound and filming.

As usual, we all retired to the next room for a fabulous supper. Sultan and the Islamic community provided the ever- popular meat and meat-free curries with rice. The Christian community provided beautiful fruit platters and the Jewish community provided an array of cakes.

The main theme of the night from many of the performers was peace. With images of war in our minds, and awareness of conflicts around the world, peace was the word on many lips and hearts. That is the great gift that the Forum of Christians, Jews and Muslims brings to the Brisbane community with our annual concert; we come together to share the beauty of the music and words of our faiths and to share our common longing for peace and justice in the world.

Click here to view photos from the event.