Sukkot: Twice a year during the Sukkot season (usually May-June) and Shavuot season (usually September-October,) Abu Gosh hosts its bi-annual vocal music festival, Israel’s ‘leading and most important festival in the Israeli vocal music scene.’
The Sukkot originally began in the 1950’s, until it was unfortunately put on pause in 1969, with the festival officially reviving itself in 1992. Since its’ recent revival, the festival has successfully drawn crowds of up to 8,000 visitors and music patrons, from all over Israel and the world.
The festivals are held within two churches in Abu Gosh, the Crusader Church of the Benedictine Monastery and the Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church (also known as the ‘Kiryat Yearim Church.’) The Crusader Church of the Benedictine Monastery was built in the 12th century and is located in the middle of a truly splendid garden, reminiscent of a real-life ‘garden of Eve.’ The Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant Church (Kiryat Yearim Church) was built in the 1920’s and overlooks Abu Gosh for a scenic view. The churches are not only devoutly beautiful places to enjoy a vocal festival, but provide stunning acoustics and an atmosphere of solemn reverence and spirituality in which to enjoy the music.
Hundreds of vocal performers and bands from mostly throughout Israel as well as abroad perform a wide array of classical, religious and spiritually inspired music, in addition to folk music from a variety of cultures, with past festivals featuring many Irish, French and Balkan tunes. The festivals are rich in musical diversity-long considered to be the secret of the festival’s success.
The upcoming 42th Sukkot festival will feature a wide array of classical music, such as Bach, Schubert, Brahms and Dvork. A stunning variety of church and choir music will also be performed, such as Ave Maria, Amazing Grace, Jesu pie and mass music. Folk music from Sardinia and Sicily, Russia, Africa, Ireland and Japan will also be included in this rich collection of musical styling. There will also be concerts which offer popular music, such as those tunes by Paul McCartney, Sting and the Beatles, among others. Each festival date already has a carefully scheduled lineup of concerts and performers, in order to choose the concert most of interest.
Among the list of scheduled performers are the: Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy Chamber Choir, The Quinta and Half Singer’s Ensemble, The Stuggart Chamber Choir, as well as Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Harpist, Julia Rovinsky, acclaimed vocalists, concert pianists and other musicians well-known to the Israeli musical scene.
If you are interested in attending the vocal music festival, the schedule of performances can also be accessed online, and in English: http://www.agfestival.co.il/concerts/sukot2012
It is highly recommended that you purchase tickets in advance for any concert or festival date that you wish to attend, as tickets usually sell out well in advance. For more information in English about purchasing tickets, you can visit the following link: http://www.agfestival.co.il/en/tickets