Shall We Dream: The Annapolis Valley Honour Choir
By Emily Leeson
This season the Annapolis Valley Honour Choir will use their voices to draw out the theme of ‘home’: what it means to find a home, to be at home, and to support others in making a home. During the first concert of their season, “Shall We Dream,” set for October 21 and 22 at the Horton High School Performance Centre, the choir will sport T-shirts produced by recent Horton High grad Mollie Symons, aimed at raising funds for Doctors Without Borders.
The “Shall We Dream” concert will share the struggles of searching and wandering but also the joys of finding peace and building bridges, and will be full of emotional, heart-rending performances. Special guests will include recently settled immigrant families in the Annapolis Valley as well as a Syrian lute player, Hussam Al Assaf, who has just arrived in Nova Scotia.
Symons’ project has been a perfect fit for the theme of the evening. She and her partner in the project, Aspen Murray, are calling the clothing line Naji, an Arabic word meaning ‘survivor.’ As first year university students settling into their new lives, coordinating the project has been a challenge but they are bolstered by the passion they both share for humanitarian efforts.
Naji grew out of their passion for fashion and a desire to make a difference in the lives of refugees. Overwhelmed and saddened by the constant and brutal horror of the Syrian Civil War and the plight of asylum seekers, Symons and Murray were looking to add their compassion and commitment to the humanitarian effort devoted to that crisis. “By starting conversations, raising money, and reinforcing systems of support, our vision for Naji is that it helps to build open-minded and big-hearted communities where people are inspired to make a difference in their own capacity.” says Symons.
So far Naji has sold 260 T-shirts. The t-shirts and other clothing items are available through their Facebook page (@NajiClothing). Approximately one quarter of the proceeds goes directly to Doctors Without Borders. The $20 T-shirts will be available at a booth at the upcoming AVHC concert.
Along with the first concert of the AVHC season, a unique workshop, “The Intersections of Choral Music and the Muslim World” coordinated by AVHC Artistic Director Heather Fraser, will be open to the public on October 22 from 10am-12pm at Acadia University’s Denton Hall. The workshop will be led by Arabic musical guests, Shireen Abu-Khader and Hussein Janmohamed, both PhD students from the University of Toronto School of Music. Janmohamed and Abu-Khader will share their research, expertise, and passion for using music as a narrative for cultural identity. Participants will explore the musical intersections among diverse peoples, and how choral music’s innate ability to bring people together can provide a medium for mediating encounters with difference. The workshop will present and draw on Arabic choral music from the Levant and new Canadian choral music emerging through a conversation with the Muslim world. Janmohamed and Abu-Khader will demonstrate approaches for getting to know the music through a spirit of openness, a willingness to discover the unknown, a quest for social justice, and an ethic of musical hospitality.
Shall We Dream
Annapolis Valley Honour Choir Concert
Saturday, October 21, 7:00pm & Sunday, October 22, 2:30pm
Horton High School Performance Centre
Tickets: Adults, $15/ Students & Children, $5 ticketpro.ca
The Intersections of Choral Music and the Muslim World
Sunday, October 22, 10:00am-12:00pm
Acadia University, Denton Hall
Free Will Offering