Recruiting musicians for a European cultural performance

A letter from Hans Campman from the Netherlands:

Background

Starting last year, True Mother has asked each region to prepare a special cultural presentation and perform it at the anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa. At the 2016 Seonghwa anniversary Europe was represented very well by four Second Generation young women, who performed a beautiful dance, backed up by audio-visual effects. Among all the performances from all the world’s regions, the European presentation was unique and creative, and the audience was impressed.

This year, at the fifth anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (which will be observed in Korea on September 7), we again wish to offer a wonderful presentation—but this time with a large number of our members on stage. When a large group is singing (or dancing) on stage, it is as if the whole national or regional family is performing. Our continental director, Jack Corley, has suggested that this time Europe could offer a choir presentation.

Would you like to represent Europe before True Mother?

We would like to invite brothers and sisters to participate in a European choir that we intend to set up, based on local choirs. Some communities already have a choir, usually led by one of our members as the choir director; in some other cities it may be possible to form a choir.

Our plan is that each local choir will practise the selected music separately in our different locations and then travel to Korea in September to perform for True Mother and our brothers and sisters worldwide who will watch the ceremony broadcast over the Internet.

My suggestion for a musical presentation

A while ago our continental director, in a conference call with European sub-regional leaders, requested us to collect suggestions for a cultural presentation. When, after several weeks, I had not received any response, I was inspired to suggest a song (or rather a song sequence) that I created some years ago.

However, it is still possible for other ideas to be presented. If anyone has a strong inspiration in a certain direction, please bring it forward.

The music that I have suggested seems to fit the concept of a choir or a big stage presentation in a semi-classical setting. Also, we are under time pressure. Our continental director feels this urgency the most. If we wish to prepare a big stage presentation involving many brothers and sisters, we need to start now. Because I know the piece, I can take time to be involved in the preparations, while still attending to my other responsibilities. Our continental director gave me the “go ahead” two weeks ago. This is the reason I have already started preparations. This idea is not absolutely final, but unless a strong alternative is offered soon, I will continue to develop and promote it.

About the music

Many years ago, when I was involved in musical missions, I mainly worked as a musical arranger (adapting already existing melodies) and as a pianist. However, I also created some songs myself. Most of these songs I didn’t perform before the public, because they required a certain setting (including a choir and a small orchestra) which was not available at the time. One of these songs is called “Glorious Day.”

“Glorious Day” is in fact a sequence of three songs of praise and gratitude to God and True Parents for bringing liberation and the New Age to humankind. The three songs (themes) are:

  • A hymn, “A Light from the East” (not the Holy Song we know)
  • a round, “People Wake Up … the Night Has Ended”
  • a middle theme, “This Is the Glorious Day.”

The lyrics of the songs are simple, straightforward and pure. I will send them to you soon.

There are a few aspects to the “Glorious Day” song sequence that may make it suitable for the performance in Korea.

  • Filling the stage: “Glorious Day” is mainly a choir song. It requires a good number of people (40 or 50 or more) on stage.
  • Length and depth: Because the proposed presentation has three themes (divided over five sections), it has a certain length and a progression. It takes people into an experience, growing to the climax in the end. In this way it can make a deeper impact than if it were only a short song. In its shortest setting the song lasts five minutes, but it can be extended to 10 minutes. (Ideally, during part of the song there would be a dance performed by the same young women who performed at last year’s Seonghwa; this must be researched carefully.)
  • Distinct melodies: The song consists of three separate melodies. Two of the three really stand out. The hymn melody is straightforward and unfolds almost by itself. It is vertical; at the same time it is easy for the audience to pick up. The round has the kind of melody that you keep repeating in your mind.
  • Variety and richness: There is a basic setting of the song, based on the three themes. However, the song can be shaped and extended to include many interesting variations, for example, by using a four-part harmony choir, unison choir, humming choir, soloist verses, instrumental interludes, etc.
  • Visual effects: We will try to project visual effects on a screen above the stage. As was mentioned, it would be great if during the song, or part of it, the same sisters who performed a dance last year could dance on the stage while the choir sings.

Unfortunately I cannot yet give a full impression of the song sequence. I am trying to make arrangements in my own surroundings so that we can make at least a provisional audio recording as soon as possible.

The main plan is that we are going to sing and practice the songs in our local choirs first. At a later stage, approaching September, we may have to practice in bigger groups on central locations somewhere in Europe.

How to apply   –   and a few points to consider

Online registration form
By clicking on the link you will find an online registration form, designed by Peter Staudinger.

Any brother or sister who is fairly good at singing and holding a tune, and who wishes to be a member of the choir, is very welcome to register by filling out the form.

Local choir practice and going to Korea
If you apply to participate, you will need to attend choir practice at regular times. If your own community does not have a choir, you may have to travel to the nearest community that has a choir.

Also, as choir members we will fly to Korea in the beginning of September. We need to arrive in Korea a couple of days before September 7 and will return to Europe a few days after that. The recommended dates for arrival and departure in Korea will be published during the coming months.

Raising funds
Because some participants may have to travel to rehearsals and because we will finally fly to Korea, it has been suggested that a special fund be set up through which European brothers and sisters may support this project.

Some additional information

Choir coordinators and piano accompanists.
Each local choir will be led by a coordinator, who will conduct the practice. I will email the music scores (written music) to the choir coordinators, and then they will have the scores multiplied for each choir participant. The choir coordinators will also receive audio recordings, which can be used as a help during the practices.

It is important that there is a piano accompanist for each choir. The pianist will receive the piano scores from the choir coordinator, who in turn will receive them from me by email. In some cases the choir coordinator and the pianist may be the same person. I will ask the pianist to practice these scores carefully and play them while accompanying the choir during rehearsals. Piano accompaniment is a great support during practicing. Also, the final performance will be with piano accompaniment (along with other instruments).

Offering special attendance to our True Parents

This cultural presentation is a great offering through which we can give great joy and comfort to our True Mother, and also our brothers and sisters worldwide. True Mother is using culture and music increasingly to win the hearts of the people and to show the fruits of the New Age.

Also, as our continental director often says, Europe is famous for its rich cultural history. We will represent that cultural history when we perform in front of True Mother, many members of the True Family and our brothers and sisters worldwide.

All the details will become clear as the project unfolds. Therefore, regardless of some logistical and practical points, please don’t hesitate to register and be part of this. We need brothers as well as sisters, First Generation as well as Second Generation. How great it would be if we had 30 to 40 European members on stage, giving attendance to our True Parents in this way.

Warm greetings to everyone!

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