Emotions in motions, this was the temper and the tempo of the third edition of the "ONE LEBANON, United for Tomorrow" concert that took place this weekend at BIEL.
An euphoric and ever growing estimated crowd of thousands of people of all ages, mainly youth, captured by the gleeful spirit of around 30 celebrities, responded for the third year in a row to the call of singer Tania Kassis, Founder and President of ONE LEBANON.
The internationally rated show started with the Lebanese National Anthem followed by a message from the President of the Republic of Lebanon H.E. Michel Aoun read by Minister of Education H.E. Elias Bou Saab before the entrance of all the celebrities one at a time singing the ONE LEBANON anthem written and composed by Marwan Khoury: "One Lebanon united for tomorrow, One Lebanon another way to go! Let's join our forces for One Love we have: One People for One Nation, One Lebanon!
Tania Kassis, whose dream of uniting celebrities for the sake of a united audience and united Lebanon, addressed a few words to the crowd in an amazing stage set-up surrounded by 2 huge screens having the Cedar shape: "Your presence today has proved that ONE LEBANON is not just a concert... it's a belief that each and every one of us share... the belief of one nation... one country... one Lebanon united for tomorrow! Our initiative is like a flame that will keep on burning with energy to ensure that peace education is integrated in the educational circulars of all achools in Lebanon! All for One Lebanon... One Lebanon for All!"
The celebrities were from all ages; it was simply startling to see superstars of the war generation such as internationally acclaimed Walid Toufic intermingle on stage with younger generation stars like Tania Kassis, Naji Osta, Ziad Bourji, Saad Ramadan, Aline Lahoud, Anthony Touma, Nizar Francis, Mike Massy, Maritta Hallani, Pamela el Kik, Wissam Saliba, RE-MI Bandali, Grace Ayanian, Mirva Kadi, Omar Dean, Silvio Chiha, Joseph Hoayeck, Pierre Rabbat, Ghady Bechara...
They performed on stage in duos, trios or in group, to sing and carry out a message of love, reconciliation and unity accompanied by a live orchestra led by the great pianist Michel Fadel.
Amongst the audience, we noted in addition to the Minister of Education H.E. Mr Elias Bou Saab the presence of General Hosni Daher representing the Commander of the Lebanese Army General Jean Kahwaji, the Ambassadors of Britain, Australia, Holland and Paraguay, several public figures and ONE LEBANON's Board Members Dr. Fouad Zmokhol, Ms. Lina Moukheiber, Mr. Ziad Mikati and Mrs. Lamia Darouni.
The repertoire gathered a selected mixture of Lebanese and International songs. The high moments of the show were brought out with upbeat hit songs such as "Don't You Need Somebody" starring Anthony Touma, Omar Dean, Maritta Hallani and Grace Ayanian, the song "Waving Flag" that engaged all the audience singing along in Arabic and in English with the celebrities and the choir of the "Tania Kassis Voice Academy" while waving the Lebanese flags, an amazing medley by star Walid Toufic of his best patriotic songs in trio with Tania Kassis and Maritta Hallani and a great tribute to Leonard Cohen with an incredible interpretation of "Hallelujah" by Tania Kassis, Mike Massy and Marc Hatem.
The evening could not have been complete without a distinct tribute to recently departed Melhem Barakat that started with a few words from his very good friend poet Nizar Francis and a surprise appearance of Melhem Barakat's son Wa3ed Barakat. This intervention was followed by an emotional medley of the artist amazing songs
The concert ended with a splendid finale that brought together all the celebrities, the choir, the ONE LEBANON board members and volunteers.
Like last year, part of this year's concert profits that was sponsored by ALFA, Azm & Saade Association and Bank Audi will be granted to the Children of the Lebanese Army Martyrs fund.
A celebration of Independence Day to remember!
Follow ONE LEBANON activities on www.one-lebanon.org