2020 Retreat and COVID-19

Message from Simon Shaheen
May 14, 2020

Dear Arabic Music Retreat Community,                                            

It is with the greatest regret that the directors, faculty, and friends of the Arabic Music Retreat have come to the unavoidable decision that we must unfortunately cancel the regular ‘in-person’ retreat this August, 2020. By this time of the year, we had all hoped for better news regarding the status of the COVID-19 pandemic, but present indicators give us no choice but to cancel the retreat. Indeed, based on careful analysis of the daily developments, it is doubtful that any large-scale public events will be lawful in the next few months. Therefore, the decision to cancel is in the interest of the safety of our participants, faculty, and staff.

As you know, the Arabic Music Retreat is a place where we all come together to learn about Arabic Music with extreme focus and intensity. Additionally, the social life at the retreat is one of its most important facets. We eat together, gather in one big room for morning classes, attend small and large rehearsals, enjoy evening gatherings for the open mic sessions, and take pleasure in faculty and participants concerts. All the above activities make the retreat special and bring us closer. However, under the conditions of this health crisis, it is doubtful that retreaters would be able to enjoy such closeness and bonding.

Our spirit needs to be positive and innovative, and we need to make the best of it all. Let’s find ways to come together this summer to improvise and innovate.

To keep our connection, we are considering holding a modified mini retreat online this summer via zoom. Stay tuned for announcements about it on the website: www.arabicmusicretreat.org, on facebook, and via our email list.

In the meantime, let’s care for one another through these hard times, and let’s keep connected as a community.

I look forward to seeing you in person at the 2021 Arabic Music Retreat.


Simon Shaheen


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