Articles From the May 1995 Unification News
UTS Open House
by Dirk Anthonis-Barrytown, NY
Where on earth do Australians perform Slovakian dances or Chinese passionately sing Korean folk songs or Americans dress up in typical Chinese garb to enact an ancient oriental folk tale?
The site of these unusual performances was the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), which on May 7 held its 13th annual Spring Open House and Family Festival.
Some 500 people, including about 150 children, attended the event, which concluded with a 90-minute entertainment program, in which several of the international UTS students demonstrated their artistic and multicultural talents.
The Spring Open House began with an ecumenical service around the theme "One World, One Family." Mrs. Alexa Fish Ward, who offered the sermon, reminded the congregation that the work of building a harmonious world family begins in our own homes.
She quoted Mrs. Barbara Bush, wife of former President George Bush, as saying that "what happens in your house is more important than what happens in the White House."
Family values are talked about a lot nowadays, Mrs. Ward added, but we need to do more than pay lip service to them.
"Putting God first," she said, is the building block of a God-centered family. "One way to put God first is to put other people first" by attending to their needs more than to our own. This, she concluded, is the essence of a public life and a public family.
Apart from the traditional UTS Open House activities, such as the highly popular hayrides for children, the sports events and the Tong- il Moo Do martial arts demonstration, this year's Open House had a few new items on the agenda.
There were, for example, two video and slide presentations on the Unificationist view of marriage and family. Entitled "Blessing '95," the two sessions, presented by Mr. and Mrs. Farley and Betsy Jones, were well attended. A professor from Yale University even came, as well as several students from nearby BARD College and SUNY New Paltz.
To share with guests a flavor of academic life at UTS, two condensed lecture presentations were given by Dr. Thomas Selover and Mr. Robert Kittel, respectively, on "Buddhist-Christian Dialogue" and "Social Issues and the Religious Response." Following these lectures, guests were offered a campus tour.
Meanwhile, in the main dining room, a video was being played showing student activities at UTS, such as the annual Oratorical Contest, the Class Debate Contest and the Divine Principle Lecture Contest.
Also new was a concession stand offering books on Divine Principle for Children. The books, written by Mrs. Kathleen Sabo, were recently published.
But the most popular event of the day was undoubtedly the entertainment program, which for the first time in the history of Open House was held indoors.
Apart from UTS student performers, including the Music Lovers Club Band, the program also featured distinguished Manhattan Center artists.
Mr. Masahiko Harigae, a composer, singer and keyboard player who is a graduate from the Tokyo College of Music, sang two modern ballads, one composed by Bert Bacharah and another he composed himself.
Mrs. ___ and her ensemble offered an outstanding performance with three songs befitting the international character of the program: one was sung in Russian, one in Italian and one in English. Not so bad for a Japanese soprano married to a Korean.
"This was the finest entertainment we have ever had in the history of Open House," commented Sarah Witt, a veteran staff member at UTS. "Every performance was staged superbly. Even the children did a great job." She was referring to Miyoung Brogan (11 years old), who tap- danced an Irish reel, and In Sook Pearlman (8) and Namyoung Brogan (6), whose violin duet found a receptive audience.
Two other performances got the audience clapping, cheering and, sometimes, laughing: a series of traditional Slovak dances offered by a group of students, only one of which was Slovak (the others were Czech, Australian, Japanese and Filipino). Then, Dr. Thomas Selover, professor in Asian philosophy and religion, and his Chinese wife, Grace, surprised everyone with their lovely rendition of a traditional Chinese folk dance entitled "Flowers and Drums."
In all, the '95 Spring Open House and Family Festival was a joyful celebration of family values and family togetherness across racial, national and cultural boundaries.
Some disappointment was expressed, however, over the fact that there has been a declining turnout for this event in the last few years.
As UTS has embarked on "Book Two" of its history under the new presidency of Dr. Theodore Shimmyo, the Seminary may need to redefine or refocus its annual outreach festival.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents