Unification News for August 1996
NJ's 2nd Annual God Bless America Festival
by Christine Libon-Clifton, NJ
On July 4, 1996 the Second Annual God Bless America Festival took place at the Liberty Marina in Jersey City, sponsored by the Family Federation for Unification and World Peace, produced by Regional Leader Rev. Kil Hwan Kim and assisted by Francesco Santelli.
Though the weather was less than ideal, the performances went on, emceed by Phillip Schanker. In the background, many guests in dinner party attire awaited the lobster dinner cruise. Nearby neighbors, invited friends and family filtered in and out, managing to catch inspiring glimpses of either the practice session of the New Hope Players and New Hope Chorale or the real thing!
The essay contest "What America Means to Me" will hopefully become an annual event with more entries from surrounding areas. Reflecting on this topic, hearing the winning essays read aloud, and receiving the award certificate and cash prize from Rev. Kim, created a never fading memory for those involved, I'm sure.
Members from the New Hope Chorale (New Jersey), the Westchester Choir (New York) and the Manhattan Choir combined to form the God Bless America Chorale.
It seemed the performance of "America the Beautiful," "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor," "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and other patriotic selections evoked the same level of emotion from the audience as in those who were performance.
Most impressive of all were the New Hope Players-so young, so well- practiced. Their play, "The Statue of Liberty is Missing," produced and directed by Mrs. Maxine Becker, was educational, captivating and endearing; and their united effort was obvious. Oh, did I mention Uncle Sam stopped by?
All this served as a platform for a talk on True Family Values given by Family Federation President Farley Jones.
Much praise goes to the people involved in carrying out this celebration even as they are so heavily involved in other major responsibilities in God's providence. To be part of this event, continuing a tradition of True Parents in America, was an honor and a privilege.
Additional thanks go to NJ State Leader Rev. Tom Baldwin, FFUWP Regional Coordinator Ron Gurtatowski, Mrs. Yasuko Kono with administration and organization responsibilities, and Mrs. Sato for the use of the stage at Liberty Marina.
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