“I’ve come all the way from Tennessee to see you”, American musician Sierra Hull told the packed crowd at the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) girls’ school in Dheisheh camp on 21 May. “It’s always been my dream to visit Bethlehem and it is an honour for me to play for you here today”, she said, before she and her band brought bluegrass to Bethlehem.
UNRWA partnered with the American Music Abroad programme, of the US Department of State, and with the Consulate General of the United States in East Jerusalem to bring Ms. Hull and the band to Dheisheh.
The genre might have been new to some, but that didn’t stop the students from dancing and clapping along to the beat and Ms. Hull’s melodic voice. The fiddle and bass also received raucous applause. As one Dheisheh student, 10-year-old Lour, put it, the concert was definitely a memorable experience: “I am happy I decided to come, even though it’s so hot outside today!”
Deputy Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank David Hutton said: “We are so happy to host Sierra here today. She has made it a point to be here with you.” Chief Area Officer of the South Region Amjad Abu Laban added: “We would like to thank all of you students, and your families for coming and enjoying the show today.”
The concert in Dheisheh was part of a tour of the West Bank. Sierra Hull and the band will also perform in Hebron, Jericho, Beit Jala, Nablus and Tubas.