In the framework of the 25th Anniversary of NDU Choir, Notre Dame University-Louaize and the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music presented "Valentino Miserachs, Beata Virgo Maria" on Friday, October 19, 2018. This unforgettable night of union as current NDU choristers of all generations gathered to sing, reunite, catch up with old friends, and reminisce about cherished choir memories!
In attendance were Fr. Khalil Rahme, Composer, Founder, and Director of University Choir; Superior General of the Maronite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (OMM) Most Reverend Abbot Maroun Chidiac; NDU President Fr. Pierre Najem; Vice-President for Administration (VPA) at NDU Fr. Samir Ghsoub; Vice-President for Finance (VPF) at NDU Fr. Boutros Bou Nassif; notable political, religious, military, education, diplomatic, and media figures; University Board of Trustees (BOT) members; and University deans, faculty, staff, students and close relatives.
Choirmaster Fr. Khalil Rahme said, “For a fleeting moment, I glimpse myself entreating an era to end here ... “Here” being today where the long years of exhausting effort have reached their zenith. It was during this decade’s long journey that Notre Dame University Choir penned the pages of its intriguing narrative.”
“Today officially seals a twenty-five-year epoch marked by the gifted vocal cords of those who have held us together to become the fruit of an original art form and the pride of a nation. We mutually set out to realize a dream fully aware that success had a price: greater responsibility, fatigue, and the persistent need to push our skills to the limit. The dream is dreaming itself, as an eternal stage of praise that carries our heartfelt feelings and emotions up to Heaven,” he further added.
For his part, Fr. Pierre Najem said, “From Heaven, where the Holy Trinity resides, resonates the voice of a graceful choir, bearing the name of Mary that reverberates her blessed name to the ends of the earth, touching the hearts and minds of every home. This choir dwells in each heart and has become a part of each life, not only because it prays twice with its audience but also because a 25-year-old choir celebrating its Silver Jubilee has firmly established itself as a golden instrument.”
He added, “Topping the list of those honorable names is that of NDU Choir Founder and Director Rev. Fr. Khalil Rahme who, on our behalf, has excelled in every corner and doubled our pride in the choir and its notable achievements. Given his remarkable success, we can only assume that it was the hand of God, guiding each movement of his baton in every performance.”
The concert was held in the presence of Valentino Miserachs, Conductor; Artemisa Repa, Soprano; Elena Zevini, Mezzo-Soprano; Michael Alfonsi, Tenor; and David Maria Gentile, Bass.
Valentino Miserachs, Vice-maestro since 1973, has been Director of the Musical Chapel of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore since 1977. From 1995 to 2012 he was head of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, and until 2015 he was president of Composition and Polyphonic Direction at the same Institute.
Mary and the church: two realities that today’s theological reflection is usually placing in the same light, making it almost a single point of reference and spiritual fruition for the man called to salvation in Christ.
The contemplation of this mystical relationship between the Holy Virgin Mary and the redeemed Church is offered here in a text, conceived in function of a musical setting, essentially interwoven with scriptural, traditional and ecological quotations, chosen and effectively approached by Fr. Aurelio Zorzi SM (Marianist), to form a triptych with a dense theological content, in which, Mary is seen as the Woman who, through the three key moments of the story of salvation (promise, expectation, and fulfillment), preludes, shadows and finally identifies herself with the Church as the new Eve-Mother of humankind, the holy Jerusalem-city of the elect.
Maestro Valentino Miserachs, deeply understanding the dense theological-spiritual content of the verbal message, has created for it a vibrant music of intense religious lyricism that, subliming the poetic images into sound sensations, penetrates directly into the most intimate fibers of the soul to open it to a wonderful vision of the Mother of the Lord: Flower of Creation, wonderful Archetype, perfect synthesis of all human values projected towards the Eternal, Mother and first fruit of the Church.
At the close of the celebration, the Ministry of Culture then presented Fr. Khalil Rahme with a trophy as a token of appreciation for twenty-five years of dedicated service to NDU Choir.
The 25th Anniversary of NDU Choir turned out to be a delight of energy, effort, passion, and emotion.