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Chaldean Symphony at the GSO - Middle East Meets West
By Rita Abro :: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 :: 77970 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment, Community & Culture, Chaldean Churches

California, USA –The Grossmont Symphony Orchestra (GSO) have been invited to play along with world class Chaldean musicians in the presentation of “Middle East Meets West.”   The GSO, under the musical direction of Dr. Randall Tweed, is a seventy-five member orchestral ensemble comprised of music and non-music majors, and talented musicians from the community.

The orchestra, whose musical performance home is El Cajon's own "East County Performing Arts Center" (ECPAC), performs a large variety of concerts from serious classical "arts" performances to lighter "pops" entertainment. Local and nationally reputed performing artists are frequent soloists with the GSO.

The St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon helped organize the appearance of special guest artist and world class violinisht Luay Yousif. Yousif, born in Baghadad in 1979, has performed with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has lived in the U.S. since 2007.

The performance included selections by  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), “Romance No. 2 in F” and “Symphony No. 2” by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), a Soviet-Armenian composer.

Among the classical performances The event also included a selection by Raed George, the 2008 winner of the Gold Medal from Alsharqiya Television Channel, one of the main Iraqi TV channels that perform Arabic and Iraqi national entertainment.

The event's highlighted feature was the world premier performance of “Mayra,” a work based on Psalm 114 and composed by Dr. Sarhad Yawsip Hermiz Jammo, Bishop of the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church. Vocalist Kerrie Caldwell, soprano, and Stephanie Johnson, mezzo-soprano, sang in Aramaic during the performance.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.