PalMusic UK Urgent Appeal
on behalf of
The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music 

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Dear Friends,

It is unusual for me to share a private letter, see below, from Suhail Khoury, General Director of The Edward Said National Conservatory in Palestine (ESNCM), had it not been for his urgent appeal during these perilous times.
 
To his call, I add mine and that of PalMusic’s Trustees and Committee to solicit your immediate support to ward off the imminent risk of closure our Conservatory faces. Since its inception, twenty-seven years ago, the Conservatory has been a lighthouse to Palestinian society. It has drawn to it thousands of young and aspiring music students, staged incredible performances and shown the real face of Palestine. Through thick and thin it held its brow up high. Don’t let it’s light disappear.

It is with humility and urgency that we call for your generous donations to raise $200k (£163k) following the devastation Covid-19 has inflicted on our already struggling communities and economy. These funds are required now to ensure that the Conservatory’s amazing teachers are paid for the months of May-August. If you are able to support us, please send your donations via the donation facility we have on our website at www.palmusic.org.uk, or click on the link hereunder. Do not let its light go out!
 
Finally, a little treat for you, please see the bottom of this appeal for the global première of ‘La Tahjuru’ (‘Do not Leave your Country’) composed by Suhail Khoury and performed during lockdown by the choir: Daughters of Jerusalem.
 
Enjoy and thank you,
 
Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi
Chair of PalMusic UK

General Director’s Letter

Dear Heba and friends of the ESNCM
 
I hope this email finds you well and in good health, coping with the lockdown and the pandemic the world is going through.
 
Teachers and staff of the ESNCM are working hard to teach their instrumental and musicianship classes online. This is going well with about 75% of our students. The rest are having problems for different reasons. Due to that, and so as to compensate for the loss of group classes, we will have to extend the academic year till the end of summer, thus cancelling the usual summer semester and programs.
 
Teachers and students are also being creative and active releasing music and songs through online collaborations. Personally I am working with my 35 young women of “Daughters of Jerusalem” ensemble where we are recording and videoing a song that I composed just before the outbreak of this pandemic. This is all being done individually from each girl’s home. Hopefully, we will be releasing the song in a couple of weeks’ time. This is a big challenge but technology has made these things possible.
 
However, due to the cancellation of the summer program and due to the inability of families to continue paying their annual fees, the ESNCM is in a dire financial situation. This is coupled with a shortage of general funds and a lack of donations that have now been channelled, understandably to combat the pandemic and its consequences.
 
The ESNCM board of supervisors will be meeting this week to discuss how best to go forward and what measures should be taken to ensure that the conservatory remains open and continues its important work for its students and community. Meanwhile, we have launched a fundraising campaign and are asking our friends, partners, and supporters in the world to help us out at this difficult time. To continue paying salaries to our 130 teachers and employees, many of whom are sole supporters of their families, we are expecting a loss of about 300 thousand dollars. Should that happen, it will threaten the continuity of the ESNCM.

That is why we are asking for your help as our friends in the U.K. Coupled with some internal austerity measures that our board will have to take, the ESNCM hopes that the success in its fundraising efforts will save the school.
 
We understand that these are difficult times for all and that fundraising at this time is very challenging, but we also know how committed you are towards the ESNCM and that you greatly value our work and its importance to young Palestinians.    
 
Yours truly
 
Suhail Khoury
General Director
ESNCM
Jerusalem
Palestine