Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
60° Rockville, MD
The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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JDS celebrates 21st annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day

Instrumentalists+prepare+to+perform+original+musical+composition+arranged+by+Bee+Kotler
Abby Chesman
Instrumentalists prepare to perform original musical composition arranged by Bee Kotler

Around the world, over 140 countries honor the annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day by celebrating music through concerts and performances. For the CESJDS community, to which Pearl’s family belonged, the honorary day holds a more personal meaning. Now more than ever, it feels relevant to the community as they grapple with the war in Israel and the worldwide call for unity.

Since 2002, the Daniel Pearl Foundation has memorialized Daniel Pearl, a violinist and journalist for the Wall Street Journal, through the “Harmony for Humanity” concert founded in his name. Pearl was on a work trip to Pakistan for an interview when he was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. 

JDS’s 21st annual celebration on Oct. 19. featured musical performances during arrival, high school morning break, both assemblies, a high school lunch concert and dismissal. The performances spotlighted over 60 students, which Director of Arts Education Dr. David Solomon believes is the most students to have ever performed for the occasion. 

“Daniel Pearl saw music as a way to bridge cultures and bring cultural understanding and tolerance,” Solomon said. “There is something special about what music can do.”

Daniel Pearl World Music Day was originally set to take place on Oct. 13, but was postponed until Oct. 19 due to the war in Israel and the cancellation of school that day. Solomon viewed the event as timely and hoped that it could act as a beacon of joy during the recent tragedy. The war in Israel and its relation to Daniel Pearl’s commemoration was addressed at both the middle school and high school concerts. 

“This is a moment of lightness during a dark time,” Solomon said. “I think there’s something about the Jewish experience, that there are always these difficult moments where festivity and tragedy overlap.” 

Upper School instrumental music teacher Gary Prince coordinated the day of music behind the scenes. According to Prince, although Daniel Pearl World Music Day is a response to a tragedy, it is also an opportunity to unite as a community and mark the musical accomplishments and passions of our community’s musicians. 

“For our student performers, it’s a wonderful occasion to prepare music,” Prince said. “Just from a curricular perspective, it’s an important date early in the year by which they need to have some songs prepared to perform… it’s a great occasion to hear music outside of Kab Shab.”

Sophomore Bee Kotler began preparing for their performance about three weeks ago, and the original composition that they performed had been in the works for over two months. The instrumental arrangement involved a 5-piece student band.

“I’ve written before, but this is the first time I’m performing with actual people rather than myself,” Kotler said. “To have [the performers] actually spend the time to learn what I wrote and to work with them on it was a really cool experience.”

Daniel Pearl World Music Day not only remembers Daniel Pearl’s passion for music, but credits JDS’s commitment to the performing arts and the universal language of music. A language that is capable of uniting communities in times of distress.

“It may seem odd that something so festive comes out of a tragedy,” Solomon said. “But that is the goal of the annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day, to connect people through joy and music.”

 

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About the Contributor
Maya Greenblum
Maya Greenblum, News Editor
Maya is thrilled to serve as one of The Lion’s Tale’s News Editor for the upcoming term. She is ready to inform and educate our readers on current affairs and events, and uncover any obscured news updates lying within our broader community. Apart from the newspaper, Maya is one of the presidents of the biomedical club, is a member of the CESJDS choir groups Shir Madness and Chorale, and plays on the girls varsity tennis team. Maya is excited for another amazing year on staff with new and former staff members, and for many more issues to come.  

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