Not many people would know the name Zak Zreikat, not unless you have attended the Day of the Movements over the last three years or the Dare to Dream weekend at the Dallas Brookes Hall in 2000. On those occasions, Zak played in the band supporting the Focolare Choir and performed some of his own original songs. Zak is certainly a talented musician, singer and songwriter with many awards in the country and folk music arenas.
Now, through Marilen Studios, he has entered the business world in an endeavour to market his talents in the form of CDs and tapes that communicate the spirit and ethos of Christianity in a modern idiom.
His latest production, Happy Birthday Jesus, is a good example.
"I created Happy Birthday Jesus because I wanted children to know the true meaning of Christmas: a celebration of the birth of Jesus. What better way to help them appreciate that than by portraying Christmas as one big global birthday party."
"I first had the idea for Marilen Studios in 1999 when I attended a Focolare conference in Rome titled "God is Beauty". The conference was all about the exploration and realisation of God as beauty through all the art forms that we have, literature, dance, art and of course music. I was transformed from a self-gratifying musician, who performed solely for my own ego, to one who wanted to show God's beauty to everyone through my music."
On the surface, Marilen Studios is like any other new business struggling to secure a place in a competitive market. There is, however, an underlying theme behind the way the business operates. It is what is known in the Focolare Movement as an "Economy of Communion" business. Inspired by Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare Movement, the Economy of Communion is a means by which the Gospel can be truly and completely lived within the business environment and profits generated by the business go into alleviating poverty.
"It is my dream that one day Marilen Studios will be a thriving profitable business that employs many people and that can achieve two key things. Firstly it will be a model to other businesses, proving that Christian values can be successfully applied in business without fear of falling profits and share prices. Secondly, it will be a means of communicating and conveying the beauty of God and His eternal love for each one of us, especially to children."
Marilen Studios has made a promising start, with five products, including a Rosary tape in English and Italian ($14.95), a tape of meditations by Chiara Lubich ($14.95), a CD of songs by the Focolare Choir ($19.95) and Happy Birthday Jesus ($19.95).
These can be obtained through AD Books or any good book store.