On May 14, the Deerfield Academy Choral Program will perform in a benefit concert at the First Church of Deerfield to raise money for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).
According to its website, SAMS is a “nonpolitical, nonprofit medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria and neighboring countries to alleviate suffering and save lives.” Founded in 1998 as a “professional society that [provided] physicians of Syrian descent with networking, educational, cultural, and professional services,” SAMS has since expanded its vision to provide healthcare and resources for victims of Syria’s armed conflicts.
“[We hear] one story after another about how terrible the situation is over there,” said Choral Director Dr. Thomas Pousant. “[The benefit is] a means for us to help in some small way.”
Entitled “Music and Verse in a Sacred Space,” the May performance is part of a concert series initiated in the fall of last year by Dr. Pousant. As a modern adaptation of traditional worship services, it was designed in order to bring the community together to sing.
This May’s event, held in the Brick Church, will include performances from each of Deerfield Academy’s choruses, who will be singing a collection of English and German compositions. Local poet Colleen Filler will also read her poetry.
“By using our talents for such a cause, I feel that even though I’m not directly involved in the mission, I’m making a difference – however small it may be – for the less fortunate,” said Henry Pan ’19, a member the Advanced Vocal Ensemble.
SAMS has certainly had a notable impact in providing relief to the people affected by the Syrian conflict. They provided more than 3 million medical services in 2016 alone. The Music and Verse in a Sacred Space series has donated to SAMS since May of last year. “[SAMS is] giving medical aid…” said Dr. Pousont, “[The money] is helping people who are actually suffering.” Besides training and fiscally supporting Syrian medical personnel working in dangerous areas, SAMS also sponsors field hospitals and ambulances and sends humanitarian aid and medical equipment.
Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated. Besides being an event meant to solicit aid, the May concert is an opportunity for the Deerfield community to support their peers, relax, and enjoy music. The entire Deerfield community is invited. The concert will begin at 4 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. All proceeds will go to SAMS.