Baghdad Choir

The Story of ChoirFest Middle East

Music has a unique quality. It transcends language distance and time. It can communicate even when we cannot. It brings people together.
That was the inspiration behind ChoirFest Middle East, which was founded in 2013 by Joanna Marsh and Shelley Frost as a platform to showcase the rich choral community in both the region and beyond.
From humble beginnings with just 12 expat choirs in the UAE competing for Choir of the Year, to a week-long festival of concerts, workshops, a gala concert and competitions featuring diverse choirs from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Palestine and more.

Banat Al Quds
Along with offering a platform for choirs of all ages, genders and backgrounds to learn and showcase their talents, ChoirFest ME is proud to have helped support its participants in various direct and indirect methods. Groups like the Baghdad Choir, who sang at ChoirFest ME in 2014, were given a chance to represent their country with pride and to celebrate their culture.
The Tehran Choir and their conductor Mehdi Ghasemi were able to use their runner up certificate status from ChoirFest ME as leverage to secure government accreditation for better venues and opportunities.
The students of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music were reunited with their director Dr Ahmad Sarmast at ChoirFest ME in 2015; they were separated a few months earlier when a Taliban suicide bomb tore through the auditorium they were performing.

Tehran Choir
The opportunity to sing in Dubai at the festival helped them begin their healing journey and return to the stage.
While the ChoirFest ME team work tirelessly to ensure the festival’s success each year, they acknowledge that sponsors play an integral part in its ongoing growth.
The festival’s Lead Sponsors are not just logos on a page, they are bodies of people engaged and actively involved in events.
While Dubai Duty Free embraces the festival in its CSR programme with its choir, the Nightingales, which is now in its third year and operating year-round; Deutsche Bank embraces the very heart of ChoirFest ME with its visionary ‘Born To Be’ programme, aimed at changing the lives of the youth in this region in meaningful, engaging and tangible ways.

Dubai Duty Free Nightingales
With solid support and vision, ChoirFest Middle East continues to grow as a beacon of inspiration, art and cultural celebration. The ChoirFest team look forward to constantly broadening the platform for choral singing in the Middle East, while introducing even more fresh young talent and helping to create unforgettable musical bonds.

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