The Words of the Tashiro Family
A Musical Missionary Journey to Holland and Austria
Mary Jane Tashiro
On Jan 26, 2001, my husband, Yook Bang and I were asked to attend the seminar, Dialogue and Harmony Among Civilizations sponsored by IIFWP at the Hilton Hotel. This was because a Japanese Buddhist monk would be attending who my husband should meet to help witness to him. This was the beginning of the exciting events that would be happening in our lives. We were at lunch talking to another Korean Buddhist monk that my husband had not seen for 10 years when a total stranger joined in the conversation. During this animated conversation, we found out his name was Mr.Y.K. Kim and he owned a martial arts school in Holland.
Later my husband invited him to our home. The usual procedure is that I feed whomever our guests are and then my husband asks me to play the piano to entertain them. In this case, this guest suddenly asked me to come to Holland to give a concert. He also asked my husband to give a speech to his students about the history of martial arts. This seemed a "dream" in my mind. After receiving 2 phone calls from Mr. Kim after he returned to Holland, we realized that he was really serious. As I pondered about whether I should buy plane tickets to Holland, my one phone call was a sign that we should go because the round trip ticket was surprisingly very inexpensive. Then that Sunday, Father said to us in his speech at Belvedere that each one of us should be determined to get out there and do something important and become famous. Then, people will be moved and believe us. This was another sign that God was pushing me.
This concert I would be giving would entail much practicing. My husband kept emphasizing to me that since the Europeans are very astute musical listeners, it would be fulfilling for me to perform there. It was comforting to know that he really wanted me to do this. I knew that there were difficulties in witnessing there so I thought my own compositions would be an easier vehicle for me to give a personal musical message than classical music which they hear all the time. The program notes were my ideas on how to bring a message of a quality of love that Father speaks of that can overcome barriers. I had not played my advanced works in 15 years, which is the number of years I had been involved teaching the True Children and now I am teaching one True Grandchild and many Blessed Children.
I had approximately 2 1/2 months to get in concert shape. Since Austria was so close to Holland, I decided to contact my spiritual son, Hans Amann, who mentioned a few years back that he would like for me to visit and perform in Feldkirch. He had been teaching my Children's Course in various schools. His response was immediate and arranged for me to perform at the conservatory.
Now that the plans were confirmed by Mr. Kim in Holland and Hans in Austria, my focus had to be on practicing and doing the best I can within this allotted time. Nothing that is important in life, especially in God's plan, is easy. A few days before we left, Mr. Kim e-mailed from Holland saying that I should include Korean songs because the martial arts students are given instructions in Korean. The concert would be in a Protestant Church with a Yamaha upright piano. My husband advised me to change my program to harmonize with the environment of a church. I e-mailed Hans in Austria and found he also wanted Korean music because the concert was being sponsored by the Intercultural Association of Bodensee. He told me I would be performing in the Feldkirch Conservatory on a Boesendorfer Grand. To have a Korean monk give a speech would make the program more in line with the intercultural concept. Because of this change, I decided I must change my thinking about this program. I suddenly felt that the "key" to the success of the concert would be to play a variety of music. The audience in Holland would be all martial arts students and in Austria all different faiths with older adults and families with children. I thought, "Why not do as I do at East Garden playing whatever fits the occasion but always including Father and Mother's favorite Korean songs?" I will start with my compositions and include classical, folk, spiritual and gospel as well as the Korean songs. I knew I would enjoy this kind of contrast in performing and suddenly all the stress of the past 2 months disappeared.
Another way of God's preparing me for these performances is interesting. I had been going to a chiropractor, acupuncturist and physical therapist because of an injury to my back and hand. This happened because I was so intent on engraving the notes via the computer to finish all my vocal works. I had to publish them before too much time elapsed. I completed 80 pages and finished in 4 months. I worked day and night, waking myself up when I thought I should make a change that would improve the layout or notes. Sitting too long with no physical exercise to counteract the intensity of this kind of activity was not good for me physically. Amazingly this injury became a blessing in disguise. The physical therapist explained to me that because I had been a pianist most of my life, I had to strengthen counter muscles opposite to the piano playing muscles. What a revelation this was to me! I practiced very softly not wanting to aggravate the injury and became aware of every motion and my playing became even more stable and consequently more expressive. Even if this trip had not happened, just the knowledge of being able to play on a higher level than before was such a relief and joy to me. How many months I agonized whether my hand would get normal again. God thus taught me something else to make me more balanced to handle this gift he gave me.
Just 2 weeks before we departed, I caught cold and it was slow to go away because I didn't have time to rest because of my schedule teaching, practicing and performing for people. Unfortunately, my husband got my cold but his became more serious so the Doctor put him son antibiotics. It was a miracle that we could depart and arrive as planned. How beautiful Holland looked to us! Mr. Kim greeted us at the airport and a tall Dutch boy (student) presented me with a bouquet of flowers. He and Mr. Kim then took all our heavy baggage. When we arrived at their home, Mrs. Kim had a delicious Korean meal with hot soup prepared for us. Every morning, to my husband's delight, she prepared a Korean breakfast. Every evening a different set of martial arts young black belt students would come to greet my husband and do their special bow to him and to me. I felt we were being treated like royalty so I couldn't help compare ourselves to the way True parents are treated when they go traveling. It was all so impressive and very humbling to us.
When the festivity began, there were students of all sizes shouting in Korean, "Hanna, dul, set, net, ta-sot "etc. The energy that pervaded the hall was so strong that later that night when I performed, my whole being responded by giving back their energy given to me and my performance had a special power. The smiles and open heart expressions from their faces, inspired me on to bring beautiful and big sounds from the Yamaha piano. Their exuberant clapping was a manifestation to me that they recognized and appreciated my piano performance because they were already aware of the same kind of discipline and focus it takes to become a black belt in martial arts. The Korean songs were so dear to me because I always performed them for True Parents. At the end, they joined in singing with the piano the last song, Arirang. It was truly a peak experience in my life and reminded me of Father's words, "Music is the fastest way to the heart". Consequently, I didn't need to speak the program notes. I only included them in this article for you as the readers because you can understand more clearly my heart behind the music.
The next day after the last martial arts performance and buffet lunch, we were picked up by the Holland church members to take us by car to Glory House, "the castle". We had a nice intimate lunch with the members in Father and Mother's dining room. The members had just finished with an interreligious conference the night before. They were tired but the devoted members came and it was my time to give my "all" . As their enthusiasm increased, I decided to be brave by singing and playing Kajong Mengsei which I had just completed after God's Day 2001. A musician, Mr. Campman and soprano singer joined me in singing the music. As I told Mr. Campman to make a copy, he looked at my manuscript and said, "I'm making a copy of the MASTER!" which means they are the first to get the copy of the original from me. I was so happy that I could at last share the music that I spent many hours to make exciting and properly emphasize the Korean words. This was not an easy task but finally Pres. David Kim gave his stamp of approval that it was good. Through singing the pledge rather than reciting it, I hope it can help all the Blessed families to understand the emotion and urgency of the responsibility we have as the central families of God.
On to Austria by train and 10 hours of relaxation was a pleasure. The arrival was momentous because the sun was shining and the flowers so bright with vibrant color. My spiritual son greeted us as if to say, "Is this really happening after all these years of wondering if you could come?". As we feasted on the Austrian version of Chinese food, we shared the events that happened and I knew that the concert in Austria would be even more challenging. I noticed that this beautiful concert size Boesendorfer grand piano had 3 extra notes at the bottom. I had 2 days of precious 1 hour rehearsal time to adapt to the piano and change my program for the Austrian audience and I was ready. In the meantime, we heard that it was a long time that the Intercultural Association of Bodensee had any activity because of so much negativity. Hans had been trying to teach the Divine Principle through a Newsletter he was sending to all the Catholic priests. This caused some apprehension among the people. My husband and I had to break down these walls. First, my husband's idea was to become a member of the association by donating some money. The $20 per year was not much, so we offered $100. Suddenly, we were invited to his home by his Chinese wife who is a strong Protestant. She made a sumptuous cake and snacks. We were told that she may not attend but she surprised us by coming and bringing their daughter (18 years old). There were many Catholics and Protestants in attendance as well as Buddhists, Hindu and one Bahai lady. After the performance was over, the guests bought some of the books I published as well as the cassettes and CD's. This was very heartwarming but the most positive "feedback" came from Hans' wife, who is a piano teacher. She mentioned 5 points about my playing which was a indication of her sensitivity and knowledge of music and piano performance. It was her "gift" to me but more importantly, this meant that her heart had changed about her husband's efforts all these years. Again, Father's words proved to ring true!
When we came back from the trip on May 2nd, it was a surprise to us to find that Father and Mother were still here. What a pleasure it was to share with them our album of pictures of the glorious trip and to thank them because I knew that this trip would have been meaningless without their message to give. I cannot express enough to all our members the "love" that I always feel from them. Therefore, I believe that God gave me music to help express their "love" to you. Also I realized that Father gave me this Buddhist monk husband in the 1995 Blessing because one very important unifying ingredient is he feels music spiritually making his support meaningful to me. With his knowledge of history and great respect for Father and ability to give stimulating speeches and sing as well, we seem to be the combination that works. I hope we can continue to spread this kind of "seed of love" wherever we go.
These are the program notes for the concert.
It's wonderful to be in your country. I like the idea of a piano seminar because that means that I have an opportunity to teach you something as well as perform for you.
Many young people need to be involved in something that is constructive, stimulating as well as inspiring. To play an instrument is one of the best ways to expand the brain cells because it takes much discipline and coordination to master an instrument. We need new music to entice the children from the early years to the teenage years. So my lifelong pursuit has been to compose for them to help them love music as I do. Although I have written over 200 children's piano pieces, tonight I will be playing the music I wrote for young people. Briefly I will explain each one before I play.
Circle of Love is in 4 parts. 1. Wings of Love 2. Dancing Angels 3. Magical Forest 4. Wings of Love. On the inside cover of my book, I wrote, True Love that flows from the individual, to the family, to the world, becomes a Circle of Love.
The next 4 pieces are intended to be brief. That's why they are called Magical Moving Moments. The 1st one is Soaring Seagulls. I have always marveled at the beautiful formation of the seagulls as they fly together reminding me of a perfect family. The 2nd one is Sunset. The overtones of the music depicts the colors of the sunset as it sets helping you to rest your souls as it disappears into the horizon. The 3rd one, Deadline, after the frenzied activity has a "collapse" at the end. The last one in this group, Kaze no Ashiato, means "footsteps of the wind" and has an oriental sound.
When I'm ecstatic with joy, my whole body wants to move with the rhythm of dance. The next set is fulfilling some of my desire and is called 3 DANCES, each one depicting a different dance. The 1st, Pierrette, is a girl clown who is flapping and sliding with her big feet and gives a whistle at the end. The 2nd, Spanish Silhouette, brings its flair through rhythmic castanets. The 3rd, Ice Caprice, shows a happy youngster falling down in the process of learning how to skate but succeeds at the end.
In everyone's life, there is a time when things don't go quite as planned and life becomes very difficult. In my case, I experienced the death of my son who was 26 years old. Maybe it is God's way to help us become closer to Him and stronger. This next composition, Light Reflections, are thoughts of him.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be a Kid at Heart all your life? This composition is playful depicting the "kid" inside all of us.
I cannot forget the night I performed in Colorado when it rained all through my concert. Suddenly it stopped after I finished. My hostess took me back to her mountain top home and we took a walk. I was so astounded to see the night sky lit up with so many twinkling stars. They were like diamonds in the sky after God washed all the impurities away. The final composition I will play is Jewels in the Night. There are falling stars and the rain storm before the jewels are seen.
ENCORE: We all need a dream that needs to be fulfilled to carry on and make life meaningful. My dream is that we work towards getting rid of all barriers and through LOVE become one big family under God. I will play for you Living for a Dream.
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