US President Barack Obama
will arrive in Israel
this week, and between one important meeting and the next, he will also find the time to enjoy some music during his visit to President Shimon Peres'
Two Israeli artists have been chosen to sing for Obama – Rita
and David D'Or,
who is quite experienced with such occasions after performing in front of the king of Thailand, the pope and former US President Bill Clinton. And yet D'Or finds it difficult to conceal his excitement.
"This time I will also be thinking about David, the boy from Bat Yam who liked to sing so much, and about the fact that music and deep faith can lead us to unusual places," says D'Or.
"I still get excited every time and don't take anything for granted. This thought always helps me put things in the right perspective, knowing where I came from and maintaining the values I believe in."
What was the first thing that came to mind when you received the news?
"That it would be a real privilege to sing at such an honorable occasion in front of world leaders who have made and are making history, our dear President Shimon Peres and President Obama."
D'Or chose to sing "Amazing Grace," a song deeply embedded in American culture, symbolizing the victory of spirit, freedom and equality.
"It's way beyond a beautiful song and I hope to be able to convey its essence in a respectable and moving manner. The melody requires quite a difficult vocal ability, which motivated great singers like Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and even Susan Boyle to perform and record it.
"I want to present the song in a special which will not be similar to other performances. I performed the song in the past on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States, when I was invited by his son to an event in Harlem."
How do you prepare for such a performance?
"I mainly focus on the song and the way it is presented. I can't ignore the fact that this will the first time President Obama hears me sing, and I hope I am able to touch his heart.
"Beyond that, I prepare for this performance like I prepare for any other performance. I work with the musicians, I look for places in the song where I can express myself and my voice in a unique manner which will provide the performance with a personal meaning as well, hoping that it is engraved in people's memory. At the same time, I take out the tuxedo reserved for such occasions."
As far as D'Or is concerned, this week's performance for Obama is a high point in his career, and rightfully so. "It's clearly a sort of dream come true," he says. "Performing on such an occasion with a historical significance is not an obvious thing. It's a great privilege."