"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord," was the theme for Tuesday night's eighth annual Interfaith Concert at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.
The concert featured choirs from the Jewish, Mormon, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh, Ukrainian and Orthodox communities and the Mu,adhin of the Islamic Center.
Shaikh Fathy Mady of the Islamic Center began with "Ad,han," or call to prayer. After the procession of choirs played by the combined Protestant Handbell Choir, Rabbi Joseph Weinberg welcomed the large crowd, and Jay Weldon Norris conducted combined musicians and soloists in Haydn's "The Heavens Are Telling."
After a congregational hymn news analyst Daniel Schorr, master of ceremonies for the evening, spoke of "harmony, unison and completeness," echoed worshipfully by The 80-Voice Mormon Choir of Washington and "let the redeemed of the Lord say so!" and "in this very room."
The children's choir of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School charmingly sang the Hanukah songs "Maoz Tzur," "Shivchi Maoz," "Nerotay," and "Oseh Shalom," directed by Elaine Parness.
For a textural change, the small choir of Saint Peter's Roman Catholic Church offered the renaissance music of Desprez, William Byrd and di Lasso.
Perhaps the most unusual sound of the evening was Sikh Kirtani Jatha, 23 singers and three instrumentalists singing of the universality of humankind.
Western tonality continued with John Calvin Presbyterian Choir director Bart Hewitt and the 10 female voices of the Namysto Ukrainian Choral Ensemble with Kievan Chant "Blazhenni and Shchedryk" (Carol of the Bells).
The Chancel Choir of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church lustily swung into the spirituals "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel," "He Prepareth a Table," and, in caller-response, "He's Done Something Good for Me."
The combined Handbell Choir returned, followed by reflections on the Interfaith Conference by Schorr.
The congregation joined for a hymn, then the 200 musicians and singers ecstatically closed with "Great Day."
At 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, the concert will be broadcast on WMET radio, 1150 AM. On Christmas the concert will broadcast on Channel 32.