Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney Makes Spontaneous & Unannounced Visit To Children's Music School In Bethlehem, West Bank The Edward Said National Conservatory Of Music Wednesday 24th September 2008

International music icon Paul McCartney today made a surprise, low profile, non-political and unplanned visit to The Edward Said National Conservatory Of Music, a music school for children in Bethlehem. McCartney made the visit ahead of his first ever concert in Israel (Friendship First concert), which takes place tomorrow night in Tel Aviv. Paul met with the surprised and delighted students between the ages of 5 and 14 as they went about what they thought would be just another day. Students couldn't quite believe what was happening as Paul happily chatted and joined in rehearsals with them as he was given a guided tour of the music school.

Music education is a subject that is close to Paul's heart, his work with his own performing arts institution LIPA in the UK is well known. This interest together with Paul's love of music, the arts and his trip to Israel's core international message of friendship and peace led him to making today's secret two hour trip to Bethlehem. "I'd heard about the great work of the school so I was really interested to actually see it for myself. Music is a universal language and something everybody can unite over and enjoy together. The work they do here is inspiring and important. The students are from different backgrounds and the school offers the opportunity to people that might not normally be able to get this kind of expert education. As I'm in Israel I thought, well I'm not here everyday so I'd like to go and see some things, so I used the opportunity to come to Bethlehem." After his visit Paul made another surprise stop in Bethlehem, this time at the Church of the Nativity. He entered the church through its tiny 4ft high entrance and was given a guided a tour along with a number of astonished tourists from around the world.

Paul visited the Grotto of the Nativity, the site where Jesus was born and lit a candle for international peace. After his tour Paul happily chatted and posed for pictures with the excited tourists outside the church. Paul McCartney arrived in Tel Aviv late last night ahead of his Friendship First concert on Thursday 25th September, his first ever visit to Israel. Israel has been waiting for this show for some 40 years after The Beatles were famously banned in the 60s.

Macca-mania has hit the streets of Tel Aviv in a big way. The city is plastered in posters of Paul, the radio stations, restaurants, cafes and bars play non-stop McCartney solo, Wings and Beatles hits, the newspapers are full of Macca related stories and the locals are lining the streets just counting down the minutes to the show.

In recent weeks many Israeli's didn't actually believe that Paul McCartney was really coming to Tel Aviv, but now he actually is here and the wait to see him live is almost over. Friendship First is a stand-alone concert in keeping with a series of one of shows Paul has performed this year in places he has never been before; Kiev, Quebec and now Tel Aviv. So far in 2008 Paul has played to almost 750,000 people in just 3 shows.

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