Meet The Lebanese Vocal Groups That Introduced Choir Singing To Lebanon’s Culture

NNA | @beirutvocalpoint

Lebanon is famous in the region for its hustling and bustling music scene, from iconic performers, such as Fairouz, Sabah, Wadih El Safi, Majida El Roumi to renowned composers, such as the Rahbani Brothers and Marcel Khalife.

Its pop mainstream music culture features the likes of Nancy Ajram and Elissa, and its underground music world is the place for up and coming Lebanese bands and DJs.

In only the past decade, a new genre has been making its way into the Lebanese culture: choir singing. It’s a form of music that originated in ancient Greece and is predominant in Europe.

You may know it from church, but Lebanese conductors are working hard to bring young Lebanese together to share the love of singing and represent the country by using their voices.

#1 Philokalia Choir

Saint Rafqa Choir - Jrabta, Lebanon

Previously known as Saint Rafqa Institute Choir, Philokalia conducted by Sister Marana Saad and the patronage of Saint Rafqa, was founded in 2010.

It is regarded as one of the leading choirs in Lebanon and has performed in several masses, concerts, and festivals. Its repertoire includes Maronite sacred music and oriental as well as Lebanese classical music.

The choir performs alongside an orchestra in prominent concerts such as the Christmas concert at the presidential palace in Baabda and concerts at the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerke.

It has also performed in international festivals and concerts like the Crossroad festival in Cyprus, Saint Anthony Maronite Catholic Church Festivities in Virginia, USA, Celebrations of Saint Maronโ€™s feast in Germany and Italy, World Youth Day with Pope Francis in Poland, and the Lebanese International Choir Festival.

#2 NDU Choir

NDU Choir of the Notre Dame University was established by Father Khalil Rahme in 1993, making it the oldest choir in the list.

The choir, consisting of around 50 members and accompanied by an orchestra, normally performs over a dozen concerts per season and has several recordings and international awards to its name.

#3 Beirut Vocal Point

This fun bunch was founded in 2010 by Janmarie Haggar. It is an acapella group.

Its repertoire includes jazz songs, Broadway show tunes, pop songs, the Beatles, Disney songs, and much more including Christmas jingles and wedding music. The group’s performance is quite unforgettable.

#4 Anqoud Choir

Founded in Zahle in 2017, about 50 children and young adults have come to share and express their love for singing.

Conducted by Rose Ghorra, Anqoud Choir has participated in international contests and workshops such as Europa Cantat in Tallinn, Estonia in 2018, and in Choral Crossroad in Limassol, Cyprus in 2019.

The choir’s repertoire consists of both religious and non-religious songs that are mainly performed without instruments (acapella), which is considered to be the correct way.

#5 Voice of Heaven

Voice of Heaven was founded in 2013 by a young conductor named Georges Chaaya. It is made up of nearly 60 members and represented the Middle East in the World Youth Day event in Panamรก in 2019.

The choir also participated in the Choral Crossroads in Cyprus in the same year. Moreover, Voice of Heaven has collaborated with Lebanese artists such as Oussama Rahbani, Hiba Tawaji, Ghadi Rahbani, Aline Lahoud, Mike Massy, to name a few.

#6 Fayha Choir

Founded in 2003, Fayha Choir is a multi-award winning acapella choir that serves as a member of one of the most important choral associations in the world, International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) and European Choral Associations-Europa Cantat.

Conducted by Maestro Barkev Taslakian, Fayha Choir has represented Lebanon in over 20 countries across the globe including Canada, China, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Greece, KSA, Dubai, Qatar, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Poland, Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Cyprus, Bahrain, Kuwait, and more.

The choir’s performances have brought the audience to tears, even in foreign countries, despite the language barrier.

Fayha Choir is inclusive and has dozens of members from various religious and societal backgrounds. It has three branches: Tripoli, Beirut, and Baakline.