At the Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, we learned that Jordan River was once mighty, good for swimming, drinking, and nurturing the orchards that lined its banks. But in the last half of the twentieth century, dams built by several countries through which the Jordan flows diverted water from its tributaries. It is now a mere trickle of what it used to be, and polluted with sewage. The Jordan is central to the three Abrahamic faiths—Muslim, Jewish, Christian—and today was the laun
ch event for the interfaith Campaign to Save the Jordan River. While this may not seem like a hot issue, it is one that rises above politics and could provide a way to peace as well as a better ecology and economy for all countries in the region.
There were Muslim and Jewish speakers, and three performing groups besides POHC—Muslim, Jewish, and Christian. Except for the time we were singing, we sat in the audience and listened. When our turn came, we sang Peace Salaam Shalom, Down by the Riverside—many people joined in—and Let There Be Peace on Earth, all of which were warmly received. At the end of the program, we were invited up to sing a last song. That turned into two songs: Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, which mentions the Jordan River, and which we did impromptu with Rene calling out the words from a sheet, and Siyahamba. We charmed many people this afternoon, including the music director of the synagogue, who would like to see more of us and will be in touch with Rene.
Then ten of us—three men, seven women—convened in Alejandra’s apartment on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan to sing for her husband’s birthday. Our audience numbered two: Nick and one of Alejandra’s friends, who recorded us on her iPhone. Leslie, our masestro for the event, led us in Wanemo, Peace, Salaam, Shalom, Siyahamba, Down by the Riverside, Happy Birthday, Rock-a-My Soul, and Let There Be Peace on Earth. There was a lot of improvising and laughing. At the end, we asked Alejandra’s friend to let us hear some of what she recorded, and we were surprised at how good we sounded. A joyous time was had by all, including the birthday boy.
-Peace of Heart Choir Singer
It has become a tradition for a member of POHC to do a post-concert write-up. It started when our Sign-up Coordinator began emailing her summaries to the other members in order to entice newer members to sign-up to sing at community concerts held early in the season. It didn’t take long for Concert Write-ups to become greatly anticipated amongst our members, so we share them here in hopes that you’ll join us at a future concert.