I mentioned several months ago after first arriving in Jordan that I had joined a Christian choir group that practiced nearby, thanks to Silas’s invitation and urging, and for the last two nights the choir had the chance to show off the fruits of our labor to the Christian population of Amman.

I was surprised but pleased by the turnout to both of the concerts; the church it was held it had about 300 seats in it and both nights it was standing-room only, with people packing both the lower level and the baloney level as well. The Sacred Heart of Jesus church is a huge, ornate affair with hanging chandeliers with dozens of tiny lights, and the transept is done up with huge statues of Jesus and the saints (very unusual and intriguing to a Lutheran such as myself) and rosaries everywhere. The acoustics were amazing though, and especially during the rehearsals we had in the preceding nights, our group of 55 singers made the place echo spectacularly for a good four to five seconds when we released a note. The makeup of the choir was evenly mixed between visiting foreigners like myself, long-time expatriates from across the English-speaking world, and college-age Jordanians. The choir’s rehearsals were always conducted in English, which every member spoke (and sang in) easily and fluently.

The length of the concert was a little over an hour and a half, which included the children’s choir (pictured below), who performed a couple songs by themselves, and four in conjunction with the adult choir. As you can also see in this picture, we were recorded by a Jordanian television channel, too. Our director, Ms. Shireen Abu-Khader, informed us that our little choir was known throughout the country as the largest and most talented, which made me feel really awkward that I couldn’t sing the Arabic hymns with more skill! But the audience which, like the choir, was combination of Arabs and Westerners, enthusiastically sang along with our songs whenever they could (several of the more well-known ones were printed in both languages in the programs for that very purpose). Thankfully, that took some of the heat off of those of us less-skilled in the Arabic language!

It was a beautiful, wonderful experience, and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow singers and the amazingly talented Ms. Shireen throughout the spring, when we put on our next concert for Easter.

In other news – remember how I mentioned a couple weeks ago that my class had joked with me about putting videos of me teaching up on Youtube? Turns out that Ahmed wasn’t kidding about it!

The children's choir sings 'Blessings to Mary' as the TV cameras roll around them

The children's choir sings 'Blessings to Mary' as the TV cameras roll around them