Magnificat Institute Called "Laboratory of Peace" Offering Concerts in Jerusalem

Share Article

The Magnificat Institute in Jerusalem, established by the Custody of the Holy Land and largely funded through scholarships from the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land is making a difference both in the cultural aspects as well as in peacemaking. Students of various nationalities and faiths come together to share their love of music and then to share their talents for others to enjoy.

News Image
All working together in harmony to perfect their musical talents.

For the third year, The Magnificat Insitutue is offering a free concert of classical music called MOM - Magnificat Open Music, June 13, 20, and 27 at St. Saviour's Monastery in the Old City. It is an opportunity to come together and experience the accomplishments of students and teachers alike. About last year's concert, Fr. Roccardo Cereani, OFM says these concerts are important because the students should not only study music but it should also be played and enjoyed.

The Magnificat Institute has become well known as a premier school of music located in the Old City of Jerusalem, but its academic director Hania Sabbara says it is also “a laboratory of peace.”

The 200 students currently studying at the Institute come from diverse ethnic, economic and religious backgrounds. “They are Jewish children, Christians and Muslims,” Sabbara says, “all working together in harmony to perfect their musical talents.“

The Magnificat Institute was founded in 1995 as a humanitarian arm of the Franciscan Custody and for over 10 years the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land has been providing musical scholarships to the young Christians attending the Institute.

It is the first school of its kind to be established in the Holy Land with the mission of providing musical training for all children regardless of their background.

The students begin their training at an early age – usually three or four years old – and continue at the school until graduation at the age of 16 or 17, Sabbara says, adding that by the time they finish, “they are professional musicians.” Some graduates have returned to the school as instructors, she added.

Besides the MOM's Concert, the routine at the school includes a series of concerts each year as well as individual and group instruction for the students. In addition, their schedule includes liturgical performances at the Holy Sepulcher and other Holy sites.

The school has 20 full-time instructors who teach piano, violin, viola, cello, organ, singing, guitar, composition, flute, percussion, choir, solfeggio and music history. Instruction conforms to standards held by the National Conservatory of Music in Vincenza, Italy, Sabbara says, and points out that a commission from the conservatory monitors final exams for the students each year. “Students must pass these examinations before advancing to the next level,” she adds.

Since its founding, the Magnificat Institute has grown dramatically. The school had no orchestra in 2010, but now has two – one for beginning students, and a second for advanced students.

The Institute depends heavily on donations to cover costs. Students are charged only 25 percent of the total cost for their instruction, Sabbara says, and this is where donations are so critical as the Institute depends on them to provide the balance. She pointed out that a $2,500 donation to the Franciscan Foundation will provide a year-long scholarship for a student. The school also welcomes donations of used musical instruments.

“Our students work together every day,” Sabbara says, “and they form deep and lasting friendships. They not only become excellent musicians, but better human beings,” she proudly adds.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Richard Sontag
Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land
Email >
Visit website