Music for Charity

Spiros C. Moros Foundation held a musical event with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, a number of soloists and the Cairo Celebration Choir performing music by Toni Moros

Published on Thursday 27 Jan 2011 in Ahram Online and Al Ahram Weekly

This is not the first time for the Spiros C. Moros Foundation to hold a musical event at the Cairo Opera House. It is the foundation’s way of reaching out to wider audience to present its mission and projects through music. The event took place at the Cairo Opera House Main Hall on 24 January.

A nongovernmental charity established in 2000, the Spiros C. Moros Foundation’s aim is to help people lead healthy lives using holistic medicine. One of their crucial beliefs is that it is possible, through holistic methods, to improve the state of people with cancer, even in some cases to achieve a full cure, as well as raise the quality of life of everyone.

To these ends the Moros family promotes alternative and preventative medicine. It was using these methods that Spiros Moros, an Egyptian citizen of Greek origin, recovered from melanoma in 1997. Hence the foundation: although Spiros passed away in 2002, his brother Toni – who also recovered after being diagnosed with cancer – continues to run the foundation.

It became regular practice for the foundation to organize events during which its mission is outlined in a short documentary screening, but the core section of the evening is the concert. Besides heading the foundation, Toni Moros finds time to compose music, hoping to unite people emotionally. The principal portion of the evening was Cairo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nayer Nagui, with a number of soloists performing compositions by Toni Moros: a series of short pieces titled Filakto (Amulet), described in the programme notes as “spontaneous expressions of emotions that I  [T.Moros] had experienced through life. Having no musical education, and without any intention to introduce music to the public, these musical pieces emerged from me like a child expresses himself without knowing how to speak.”

Indeed Filakto is characterized by simplicity: short themes and predictable melodies reflecting a personal emotional palette. Arrangements by A. Remounos and Nayer Nagui, managed to bring to light the deep nostalgia sketched by the composer, with strong accents and rhythmic sections adding refreshing colours and edge to the music. Nagui’s arrangements were especially poignant in sections incorporating choir such as Solfege or Ego Ego. Several pieces, arranged by Remounos, were for solo piano (played by Wael Farouk): Why meand Sadat 1981, for example, opening each half of the concert. The orchestra and the soloists: Jolie Faizy (mezzo soprano), Elhamy Amin (baritone), Ines Abdel Daim (flute), Krzysztof Macierzynski (saxophone) gave additional weight to the compositions, with the basic lines developing into interesting phrases: a delight to listen to.

Toni Moros does not claim to be a professional musician, and should be judged on his own terms. He does not lack the passion to create, feeling which is just as strong as his belief in the mission of the organization he heads. Personal and spontaneous expression, well arranged and effectively articulated by the soloists and the Cairo Celebration Choir, were justifiably applauded by the audience.

Founded in 2000, Cairo Celebration Choir consists of amateur singers who have given many concerts including regular appearance on Christmas with songs arranged by Nagui and performed alongside soloists from the Cairo Opera Company. The choir has a vast repertoire and has performed on a variety of stages in Cairo and Alexandria with local orchestras as well as foreign ensembles – the latest collaboration being a concert with the French percussion troupe Symblema.

Wael Farouk, for his part, has had a remarkable international career, giving a large number of solo recitals all around Europe and the USA. He visits Egypt on a regular basis, enchanting the local audience.

The choice of music is an excellent was of approaching a wider audience. Music is always a good means to complement and already valuable evening, which demonstrated the power of music to hold people together. The event thus drew in both people eager to learn about the work of Spiros C. Moros and music lovers, with plenty of media representatives as well. A pity that some of the media personnel’s behavior was far from acceptable, with loud discussions across the hall going on despite their being asked by opera representatives to be silent; the Egyptian Television’s Channel 2 personnel especially were appallingly disruptive, prompting the musicians themselves to express their disappointment during the intermission. The second half of the concert was much calmer, though this may have been a result of media having left altogether.

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