Assyrian Choir “St Ephrem“ sings at British Mueum
ENSCHEDE/RIJSSEN – A unique cooperation. This is how Martijn Meijer classifies the combination of music, performed in London by the Wilhelmina music association from Rijssen together with the Assyrian choir Mor Ephrem from Enschede.
Yesterday, february 17th 2009, several busses with singers and musicians headed towards to the British capital. The concert will take place at the British Museum and will be broadcasted by several middle-eastern tv-stations as well as the BBC.
This is the first time that such a cooperation of the Assyrian community with typical Dutch music will take place. Besides offering a high quality concert, the St Ephrem and Wilhelmina musicians hope to offer a special contribution to the ongoing integration of the Assyrian and Dutch communities.
“To make the concert in London extra special, the Assyrian choir has been searching for the right musicians within the Dutch community. When the conductor of the choir heard the Wilhelmina music association last year, he immediatly offered them the project of cooperation,” Says Meijer.
In the Dutch province of Overijssel, more than 20.000 Assyrians, most of them members of the Syrian Orthodox church, who develop their culture within their own community. However, many Assyrians wish to share their music with everybody in Overijssel. Over the past weeks, these two organisations have been training together enormously.
For the Dutch musicians to play oriental melogies was was quite huge step in the beginning. But at the performences the outcome was suprisingly well. George Abdo of the St. Ephrem Choir: “ This way an exptra dimensian has been added to the term ‘ Integration of Assyrians’. We are showing that even our music is able to integrate with the western music. We aim to have a small orchestra guiding our choir permanently in the future.”
Martijn Meijer: "For Wilhelmina this project offers a unique chance to experiment with two totally different music styles. It’s an interesting experience to use typical western instruments – such as the trumpet, trombone and clarinet- playing typical oriental sounds and melodies. We are very curious how this will sound in London.
Besides the musical challenge, the participating members of the Wilhelmina musical association are looking forward to perform outside Holland. For many of us this is the very first time.” Friday both groups will return. Wilhelmina has a heavy Carnaval weekend to ahead.