Heartbeat: Rockford


Rockford_Concert_PDF_copy.jpgHeartbeat, the Israeli-Palestinian youth music community, launched their fourth US tour on February 21, 2015 to promote equality, empathy, and nonviolent action. The ensemble of accomplished Arab and Jewish youth artists (ages 18-24) performed a free community concert hosted and sponsored by Rockford University on Saturday, March 14th at 7:00 pm. The performance at Rockford University’s Maddox Theatre featured special performances by Keith Country Day School, Rockford Lutheran School, The Lone Canary, and The Last Wordbender.

As war grips the Middle East and inequalities across racial and economic lines plague every community on earth, the young musicians of Heartbeat took the stage in Rockford with their dynamic blend of Eastern and Arabic music, Western rock, hip hop, jazz and reggae that challenges the segregation, inequalities and racism that fuels violent conflict around the world. This concert was a part of Heartbeat’s fourth US tour which aimed to amplify the voices of the silent majority of peace-seeking Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans to advance dignity and freedom for all people.

Based in Jerusalem, Heartbeat is an international nonprofit organization uniting musicians, educators, and students to build mutual understanding and transform conflict through the power of music. Founded in 2007 under a Fulbright-MTVu award, Heartbeat unites Israeli and Palestinian youth musicians to build critical understanding, develop creative nonviolent tools for social change, and amplify their voices to influence the world around them. Engaging in an ongoing music-based dialogue process, Heartbeat youth develop creative skills to express themselves and become agents for change; partnering to build a safe, equitable future.

At each event, Heartbeat musicians shared their experiences of growing up amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, highlighting their creative effort to build a better future as members of Heartbeat. Each concert offers a unique window into the lives of these courageous young artists and will forge lasting connections between communities in the US and the Middle East.

Heartbeat’s youth led effort challenges the tidal wave of separation, fear, violence, and injustice with powerful sounds and voices calling for cooperation, equality, and peace. The Heartbeat message inspires people of all backgrounds to work together to be the change we seek.

The event was co-sponsored by Rock River Valley Peace Coalition, Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford, Muslim Association of Greater Rockford, YMCA of Rock River Valley, Rockford Lutheran, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Turkish American Society of Rockford, Rydell Family Foundation, United at Peace, Rockford Area Arts Council, Jim & Pam Keeling, Sunil Puri, Doug & Mary Perks, John & Barbara Holmstrom, Lois Lutz, Karen Bieschke, Wray & Sue Howard, Gary Schlehuber & Nancy Harvey, Mike Schablaske.

The Rockford University performance on March 14th in the Maddox Theatre was at 7:00 pm and was free to the public and open to all ages. 

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