Jerusalem: the AYYAR festival of the Magnificat Institute | Custodia Terrae Sanctae

Jerusalem: the AYYAR festival of the Magnificat Institute

This year again, from the month of May, the Magnificat Institute of music of the Custody of the Holy Land welcomed spring with a musical event which came to an end on 17 June. "The events of the AYYAR (May, in Arabic) Festival are conceived to promote the school with those who do not know it,” commented its Director Fr. Alberto Pari, "this is why usually the teachers and students of the more advanced courses perform.”

The Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem, which has an agreement of collaboration with the "Arrigo Pedrollo" Conservatoire in Vicenza (Italy), is a school of music that was founded in 1995 by  Fr. Armando Pierucciin the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. The only one of its kind, it promotes the study of music, offering  professional training, but above all it is a place of dialogue and education on peaceful coexistence, where Muslim, Christian and Jewish children and teenagers study together, united by their passion for music. At present, the school has over 200 young pupils and about 28 teachers, and its success is growing. The following are taught at the Magnificat: Piano, Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Organ, Singing, Guitar, Flute, Percussions, Choral Music,  Solfeggio, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet and Trombone, Oboe and the History of Music.

"TheMagnificatnever stopped lessons during the pandemic,” Fr. Alberto Pari, Director of the Institute, explained. "First online, facing up to great challenges, then in presence, intensifying the study and practice, fundamental elements that have allowed us not to postpone this year’s concert." Because of COVID-19, from the first lockdown, the Magnificat immediately looked for alternative teaching methods.

Thanks to the technological skills of several teachers, an online system of organizing classes and sending study material was created. Between the echoes of online transmission, the possibility of rehearsing and meeting the pupils virtually was also explored, in order not to sacrifice the Institute’s standard of quality of teaching. "The pandemic, although having put a great strain on the school, allowed it to open up to the social platforms,” continued the Director, "thanks to streaming class concerts and concerts from festivals on the Facebook page of the Institute, which were done respecting the local regulations in force.”

This year’s AYYAR festival was divided into three concerts. The first, at StSaviour Convent in Jerusalem where Magnificat is based, included the participation of the pianists of the Institute, supported by violins or voices.  The second focused attention on the ensembles and the orchestra; while the third, traditionally held outside the walls of the Convent to make it easier for outsiders to attend, was held in the church of the Terra Sancta College of Jerusalem, in the Revahia quarter, and featured ensembles and several soloists.

In addition to the public present, the response of the virtual public was also more than positive. Through the communication media and the social networks, the school was able to reach even those who could not have come personally, such as volunteers, benefactors and future students. In particular, the streaming of the second concert of AYYARon the Magnificat’s Facebook page obtained almost a thousand views and many compliments.

"This festival has given us great satisfaction and joy,”  noted Fr. Pari. "Both the students and the teachers, but also the families, were enthusiastic and pleased with these three concerts."



Giovanni Malaspina