The Syrian Choir of Joy will give a FREE one hour performance on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm at the Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage in the Eisenhower Theater as part of ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World.

The Choir of Joy includes 5 sections.  The first (preparatory) choir includes children in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, the second choir includes children from 5th grade through middle school,

the third choir includes high school students, the fourth choir includes university students,

and the fifth choir includes recent college graduates as well as older men and women.

Based in the Lady of Damascus Church in Syria, more than 100 children of the choir perform Byzantine, Muslim, and Arab songs • celebrate the traditions and practices of the Byzantine church, conserve them and spread its music • celebrate Arabic language hymns and perform then in a manner that speaks to all believers • celebrate and promote Arabic musical tradition • celebrate in song the rights of Arabs and all humans to life, dignity, freedom and joy • spread the message of peace and harmony, & encourage interfaith dialogue through music

About the Choir

Known in Arabic as Joqat al-Farah, the Choir of Joy was founded in 1977 by Father Elias Zehlawi. The choir at that time included 55 children, boys and girls, representing all Christian denominations. Today there are over 100 members of the choir and all are unpaid volunteers. The choir grew over time to become an impressive group that includes talented people from different denominations and different religious affiliations.  Following the development of the events in the region, the Al Farah choir felt the need of highlighting the interfaith dialogue as a point of power in the Syrian society where all Christians and Muslims and even Jews – lived in brotherhood and peace for ages. As a result, the choir launched recitals to emphasize this message and to express the respect and the acceptance that both sides hold for each other.  It’s a simple and important message of living in peace with each other through reaching out to the hearts of people around the world with music and song.  Please go to