Homeland Concert

1,000 musicians in Caesarea call to bring hostages home

Local producer creates show combining Ehud Manor lyrics with national anthem, to warm ‘frozen hearts’ after horrific events of October 7

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

From the production and recording of 'Homeland Concert,' created in support of the Hamas hostages taken captive on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)
From the production and recording of 'Homeland Concert,' created in support of the Hamas hostages taken captive on October 7, 2023 (Courtesy)

When producer Talya Yarom thought about a giant production of musicians playing and singing for the hostages held captive in Gaza, she kept thinking about bringing 1,000 musicians and singers together.

“One thousand sounds good,” said Yarom. “It’s a good place to get to, and 1,000 musicians in Caesarea, which to me is a symbol of the beautiful Israel.”

On December 18, Yarom brought together 1,000 musicians, old and young, rockers and classical players, amateurs and professionals, to the Caesarea amphitheater for a day of recording and filming.

The result is “Homeland Concert,” with a medley of lyrics from Ehud Manor’s classic song, “Home” and part of “Hatikva,” Israel’s national anthem, composed by Yair Klinger and melded into one work arranged by Eran Mitelman, with the orchestral arrangement by Ron Klein and directed by Shilo Gallay and Danny Casson.

But the concept was Yarom’s, a veteran of outdoor productions who felt that she had to bring something big and beautiful “to warm everyone’s frozen hearts” after the vicious Hamas terrorist attacks of October 7, when some 1,200 people were killed by gunmen in a widespread assault in the Gaza border communities, and another 240 people taken captive to Gaza.

Music made the most sense to Yarom, and she called Mitelman, a good friend and conductor, and the two of them first chose the Ehud Manor song, aiming for a mix of rock and classical sound.


“The concept was a national project,” said Yarom. “The nation is crying to the world, ‘Bring Them Home,'” she said, referring to the rallying cry that has echoed nationwide over efforts to bring the hostages back home to Israel.

The lyrics to the Hebrew song include:
“Home, home,
It’s time to return,
From hills and foreign fields
The day is fading and there’s no sign”

When Yarom put out a call on social media for musicians, nearly 2,000 people signed up, surpassing the level of interest she had hoped to generate.

“I wanted something that felt universal, national,” she said. “I didn’t want any big names.”

The 1,000 musicians she ended up working with were divided into groups according to instrument and rehearsed by themselves at home, while Yarom assembled a crew who volunteered their time for the endeavor.

On December 18, they all gathered at Caesarea for the first time, playing under conductor Mark Wolloch and recording a video of the performance during the course of that one, long day.

“It was amazing,” said Yarom, “especially at the end when families of the hostages joined us to sing. They moved us very much.”

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