Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Antakya Chorus of Civilizations to spread message of peace

From Today's Zaman: Antakya Chorus of Civilizations to spread message of peace
The Antakya Chorus of Civilizations, a choir formed in 2007 with the aim of spreading a message of peace in a demonstration of unity between the Abrahamic faiths, is set to perform a series of concerts in seven cities across Turkey’s seven geographical regions.

Speaking in an interview with the Anatolia news agency, choir director Yılmaz Özfırat said the concert series would be taking place in the cities of İstanbul, Erzincan, Diyarbakır, Trabzon, İzmir, Antalya and Konya.

Özfırat also stated that the musical ensemble, which currently has 120 members who perform in costumes of flowing white silk designed by prominent fashion designer Bahar Korçan, is looking to expand its ranks. “Currently our choir totals 120 members, but we have decided to increase our numbers and have thus called for applications, which must be submitted Sept. 24. Applicants do not need to worry about expertise; we still see ourselves as very much an amateur outfit and our primary aim is to keep increasing our numbers and bring together people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds in a fun musical family that can make a genuine difference and impact people with our message of peace. Our current members range from teachers to students and from nuns to imams,” he said.

“In the past we have performed in cities across Turkey as well as in New York and various European cities. We sing in Turkish, Armenian, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and Italian and always sing a song or hymn in the language of the country we are playing in. Essentially we want people to see that this is a diverse and mixed group that has come together and united in peace and harmony. Our concerts are always free,” he added.

Özfırat also said that having been nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, the group is hopeful that they stand a good chance of winning the prestigious award. “What we really want to do if we win the prize,” he explained, “is to merge a church, synagogue and mosque under the one roof in Antakya. That way we can show the world how people of different beliefs can really unite.”

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