MEET ONE OF US: AKRAM NASSAR, BBC’S CHOIR CONDUCTOR
The Bethlehem Bible College Choir performs Arabic Christian music from the very town where Christ was born. The choir performs in local churches and has made several international tours. It has a varied repertoire which includes music from the historic churches as well as from the contemporary Arab Christian world. With a performance style which is distinctively Middle Eastern, the music conveys a strong commitment to Jesus Christ and reflects the experience of faith forged under pressure.
Akram Nassar has led the choir for almost two years now. He is a professional musician who previously led three different large choirs; one in Jordan, one in Qatar and another one in Palestine.
In a short interview with Akram he told us briefly about his family, his studies and his dreams for BBC’s choir. “I graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1998. In 1990 I studied Vocal and Piano. I am happily married since 2011 with two amazing little girls.” Akram cares deeply about nurturing his marriage and family life as well as being committed to directing the choir.“I encourage my family to be part of the choir as much as possible. This helps me to merge our family time with the choir’s rehearsals and performances. As a family we consider the time we spend in the choir as a form of worship and praise to the Lord. ”
The BBC Choir has a long, successful history. It first started in 1981 under the leadership of David Hilbery. It was later developed to include not only students from Bethlehem Bible College, but also young men and women from the larger Palestinian community. For Akram, continuing this legacy is a big responsibility. “I used to imagine myself leading a big congregation who are praising and singing. This vision always inspired me to be involved in different churches with different styles of worship. I believe this has helped me lead choirs that perform traditional as well as contemporary songs.” The choir today has sixteen singers, four musicians and two people helping with administration. They all get together and practice every Friday at the college. “When we have a performance coming up we increase our rehearsals,” says Akram.
Akram’s dream for the choir is to maintain the vision which attracted him to the choir in the first place. “My vision for the Choir is to be a group of Palestinian singers and musicians who share the same faith and praise God’s name with excellence and dedication.”