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The renowned Manama Singers recently held the debut Choir Fest Bahrain which featured choirs from across the region. Following the spectacular event, we spoke to the mastermind behind the group’s beautiful harmonies – the conductor, Jo Diciolla.

The Manama Singers, known for their captivating performances and dedication to music, have been gracing Bahrain’s arts scene for years. The renowned choir recently organised the Kingdom’s first ever Choir Fest, held at the Cultural Hall, which featured 12 choirs from Bahrain, Kuwait, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The event celebrated diversity in music and backgrounds, with talented singers representing community, school and church choirs harmonising to present music from Western, Indian and Arab cultures.

Jo Diciolla is a musician at heart and a Regional Portfolio Manager by trade. “Being a Christian has a deep connection to choral singing. I started singing at seven years old in a local church choir and have also taken guitar and clarinet lessons and achieved ABRSM Grade 8 in clarinet and a grade A in Music A-Level. Studying music provides a foundation for appreciation, understanding and creation of music, whether solo or with a group,” says Ms. Diciolla.

She then led her church choir for a year before university, and joined the Manama Singers choir in 2016 when she moved to Bahrain. “Since 2017 I’ve been honoured to lead the fabulous group which is the longest-running and most well-known community choir in Bahrain,” she says.

“Manama Singers is a group of likeminded individuals who want to make music and have fun like an ensemble of lovely people who make friends and build a strong supportive community. The choir is an important support network for each one of us, making our home away from home in Bahrain,” she says.

“The non-auditioned choir caters to singers with varying musical abilities. The choir undergoes comprehensive training, including learning notes at home and polishing them during rehearsals,” she explains. “The singers learn to use their voices to create a tapestry of sound, adding colour and texture to music. I focus on making the experience enjoyable and rewarding.”

The group predominantly sings western music, including classical, pop, showtunes and jazzy numbers, in English and other European languages. “We are interested in exploring Arabic music and learning about its differences in melodic structure and language. We are networking with Arab musicians, aiming to perform soon.”

Reflecting on the experience organising Choir Fest, she says that it was thrilling, relentless, and inspirational. “The debut Choir Fest Bahrain was magical! All singers, conductors, and our supportive audience, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and shared so much positive feedback. It will certainly not be the last festival of its kind!” she says excitedly.

“Manama Singers is always on the lookout for more singers, especially male voice parts, including tenors and basses. We’re a welcoming non-auditioned choir. So, please reach out if you can sing in tune,” she concludes.

The group meets on Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 9pm at the Dilmun Club. For more information, follow @manamasingers on Instagram.

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