Unification News for June 2003
New CD: The Best of Patsy Casino
For many years people have asked me if I had a CD of my singing. Iíd say no and theyíd say why not? I guess, in a sense, I didnít really see myself as a singer. I didnít start singing until I met the Unification Church. For many years Performing Arts was my mission in the church.
A little history: In high school one semester I took Chorus but it was my sister whom everyone noticed concerning singing. In fact she won a scholarship to Switzerland to study voice one summer and her teacher encouraged her to study voice. Instead she majored in Elementary Education and taught school for 30 years. I did love music however, and studied piano and flute. I played in High School marching band and won the John Phillip Sousa Band award as 1st flutist, I can still remember falling asleep at night with my small radio in bed listening to classical music and flute solos. In College I studied Home Economics -- Textiles and Clothing. I was planning to go into Fashion Merchandising or costume designing for movies or television. It seemed like something exciting and fun to do and everyone thought I fit the role.
I met the Unification Church in my last semester before graduating at the University of Texas. I went to see the Korean Folk Ballet who were performing at the Student Union. I actually went to see the Korean dresses since I was taking a Costume history class and I thought It would be interesting to see Oriental dress. It was there that I felt Godís spirit and I was witnessed to and attended a workshop that weekend. Many people were surprised that I came because I didnít look the searching hippie type but I was more into glamour and beauty. Underneath all the exterior was a very sensitive girl who thought deeply about life.
I remember many nights lying in my dormitory thinking what happens when we die. Is there life after death? What is the best way to live my life for God so I donít waste it. I have always believed in God. As a girl I can remember flipping thought the Bible that stayed in our living room and looking at all the beautiful pictures of Jesus and his disciples during his ministry and wishing I could have talked with him to understand how he knew God so deeply. At the weekend retreat when I heard that the Messiah had been born I almost fell out of my seat. What did it mean?
My first response was that I wanted to meet him. Where is he? At first I was excited but then because very sad. Did it mean Iíd have to join the group? What about all my plans?
It all happened so suddenly. I cried for days and days wondering if it were true. The struggle was almost unbearable. Then I began to have so many powerful dreams. One of the most powerful ones came in big bold red print. I saw "Those who give their life for my sake will gain it, and those who try to gain their lives will lose it." The dreams were so intense Iíd wake up sweating. Then I saw all these people wearing white robes in my room bowing and praying. I felt the presence of a bright light and a voice saying to me, "If you really love God please raise your hand."
All night I felt as if I was struggling to raise my hand but something kept pushing it down. Finally after much struggle I raised my arm. Again, I woke up sweating. After so many intense dreams and hearing voices and noises in my room I actually became scared and thought Iíd better join and make at least a year commitment until I knew more clearly. Could I live with myself if I ran away from Godís calling when I always told him I loved him? I didnít want to be one of the people who rejected Jesus when he came. I moved into the center and finished my last semester of College. I was preparing to go on National MFT when Mr. Phillip Burley heard me singing in a group meeting. He asked me to audition for Sunburst. He chose me for the group and plans for MFT got canceled.
I had never been to a rock concert in my life. In fact the first concert was with my husband two years ago to see the Rolling Stones. I really enjoyed them. Itís ironic that I became the lead singer. in Sunburst. The first time I sang in front of True Parents I was very nervous. But I felt Fatherís loving spirit. He was a spiritual rock. His eyes and spirit saw into my soul. I knew he would always be with me. His love was unshakable. He knew my weaknesses and strengths and accepted me gently and lovingly. I didnít feel his judgment for my sins but only love, compassion and encouragement in my journey to find God.
I had never felt such powerful love before. Now I knew what it was like to be living with Christ, someone living completely for God and others. I really felt like he was my Father and I was his daughter. I knew I had to hold on to True Parents if I was going to make it in this spiritual battle. Being in Sunburst was quite an emotional mission. After a long and difficult path I became the lead. singer. There were so many internal struggles about who should sing what song at which event and so on. Each performer naturally feels he has the best voice and everyone wants to sing the lead solo. But inevitably someone has to sing backup. Honestly, I didnít have so many preconceived ideas about music since I had not sung before the church so it might have been easier for me to unite with all the providential directions. There were times I just felt so unqualified and struggled terribly. I felt like a leaf on a big tree holding on by just a little stem being blown in a big storm. I knew if the stem broke Iíd be blown far away so I held on tightly for dear life.
But with God, True Parents, and a very God-centered and creative central figure like Frank Grow, Sunburst pioneered and set the foundation for heavenly rock music by creating a beautiful unity. We performed at so many events all across America. It was such an exciting time. I took my mission so seriously. I actually felt when I sang a song it was so important that it could make or break the entire providence. We all felt we were called by God to save the world through music. I was just so proud to be the face and voice of True Parents.
Thatís how I saw myself. When I stood on stage I felt that I represented them to the public. So I was always concerned to conduct myself properly. Father often talked abut morality. Performers in the fallen world often have problems in the area of love -- many partners, etc. We must change that. A true artist must be god-centered and establish a God-centered family. God would enjoy listening to that artist perform even if their technique wasnít the best. Ideally they should have the best heart and best technique. But already there are many great performers but Father says their lives are so unprincipled that it pains God to actually listen to them. We must change all that.
Once when I performed at a media conference in South America in 1983, The performers were invited afterwards to visit with True Parents. I thought he was going to comment on our performance. Instead he began asking us about our spouses. He went around the circle commenting about our individual situations. I was surprised that He knew my husbandís personality so well. At the time I had just started living with him. He said, "I gave you a very good spouse. He takes very good care of you." Is this true? I said, "Yes Father." My husband would send me vitamins, etc. and encourage me to get proper rest. At the time I did not think so practically and could easily get burnt out. Today my husband is a lawyer and provides very well for our family. And heís still encouraging me to get more sleep! Father emphasized to us as couples that we must always sacrifice and live for God in order for God to protect our families.
During those early years Father gave us so much attention -- spiritual direction as well as practical guidelines. Here are just a few: The voice is subject over an instrument. Donít close your eyes when youíre singing. Look at you audience. Pay attention to your hair and makeup: donít wear too much makeup on your eyes. Yes, you can dance on stage if your heart is pure. For years in Washington D. C. I sang for the Korean community and for guest that came to America. Father was so happy he called us to meet with him. He heard all of our songs and critiqued us individually. He said my Korean was the best. Then he went on to say that when you sing in Korean you must have perfect pronunciation. Korean people will clap but they respect you if the pronunciation is correct. So study your Korean. Just last year in a meeting in Washington DC. with Mr. David Eaton and other performers he told us we should continue studying and improving our art so we can witness to more high level people. We have to become more famous to influence the world.
Father is so sensitive. He knows what we need if we just listen to him. After the years singing in Sunburst, which was very stressful, I lost my voice. I could barely talk. At the time I was in CARP and father saw me in the audience. He turned to Tiger Pak and said that I needed rest and told him to send me to the Unification Theological Seminary. At the time Tiger Pak wanted me to pursue Acting and Television. He felt strongly that we must prepare for television and movies and witness through media. So I studied one year at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, CA, However, I was getting sicker and sicker. I think I was just run down. We had such a grueling schedule -- not the prima donna situation that some members thought performing artists were having. It wasnít Hollywood where the stars are catered to.
We would witness, fundraise all day and still perform at many events in the evenings that took so much emotional energy. After years of this I just became very tired. When I went to a voice specialist he suggested I might need surgery to remove the vocal nodules that had formed. Otherwise, he said I could take 2-3 years of rest from performing and I might gain my voice back naturally. Wow! Father already knew this just by looking at me. So I went to the seminary for 2 years and my voice completely healed as I studied, and changed my environment. Once President Kim said, you are music minister- what a nice title. I want people to feel Godís love though my singing.
I still sing at many events in our Church. I also have done television commercials and instructional videos in the DC area. Iíve even had one line in the movie "Rules of Engagement" starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson that was a number one movie for three weeks in America. I still feel Tiger Pakís spirit encouraging T.V. and movies.
So how does this all come together for my CD? I have received so much love from True Parents being in performing arts. I want to share some of the love songs that Iíve sung in their presence or in church activities over the many years. Each one brings back so many beautiful memories. For instance, "Through the Eyes of Love" when I sang it at a Seminary event which Father and Mother attended, I still can recall Father turning to mother and suddenly holding her hand and giving her the most romantic looks you can every imagine. I was melted by their love.
Today that look is still vivid in my mind. "Hopelessly Devoted to You" was a song that Heung Jin Nim liked. True Parents requested that I sing at his funeral in Korea. He was so devoted to True Parents. Because I was asked suddenly to sing there was little time to prepare. My spiritual daughter Tania Heiberg stayed up all night transcribing the song to a lower key. I had to borrow a dress from a sister because there was no time to go shopping. I was four months pregnant and off I went learning he song on the airplane with a tape. I felt unworthy to be on the same stage with Heung Jin Nim and all the blessed children who carried his casket off stage at the time. But I was carrying a blessed child in my womb. I was thinking that is the only reason a sinner like me could attend. I was the only American on the same stage. "I wish" was sung at our Science Conference. When I belted out the last sentence about freedom Mother suddenly burst into tears. Those early years were so stressful. I felt Mother was very proud of me and my strong determination. At least, I hope that was the reason and not because it sounded so terrible.
Every song has such meaning. Each time I sang before True Parents Iíd have to really pray and check my heart. Is it in the right place? I knew they could see everything. If I wasnít right with God I could barely sing. Iíd feel like I was being choked. In 1976 at Washington Monument before going on the stage to sing "Save the Country," I almost fainted. As I was walking out I thought, "Oh No, Iím going to faint." I felt so dizzy.
Suddenly my Dad who had flown up from Texas stood up in the front row (he had somehow managed to work his way through the crowd of 100,000) and yelled my name. That love connection shook me out of the dizzy state and I was able to sing the song powerfully and mean every word. "Weíre gonna lay that devil down." I was so happy to be a warrior for God and prepare the atmosphere for Father to speak. I know my singing is a gift from God. Without faith in God and True Parents I can honestly say I canít really sing.
I want to thank God and True Parents -- the glory goes to them. And I want to thank my husband for all his love and support over the years -- in fact, heís the one who finally said, "OK no more excuses. I want you to make a CD this year." Because of him Iím discovering what true love is all about. And I thank my four wonderful children who seem to get such a thrill that their over-the-hill mom -- between cooking, cleaning, and driving them to soccer, basketball, softball, Girl Scouts, cheerleading, and many school events -- is making a CD. Their friends think itís cool. And I want to thank all my brothers and sisters who have convinced me over the last 29 years that they actually like my singing. Thank you and I hope you enjoy my CD. With God we are always young in spirit and the best is yet to come.
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