Unification News for

December 1997

 

The Performing Arts at WCSFIII

by David Eaton-NYC

The World Culture and Sports Festival in Washington, D.C. was undoubtedly one of the most significant events that our movement in America has produced. As director of the cultural programs of WCSF III I was presented with the challenge of fashioning a series of events that would reflect the spirit of True Parent's vision and values.

The following is a synopsis of the week's events.

New York City Symphony and Un Mundo at The Washington Times’ Arbor Ballroom.

This concert was created in order to highlight the work of the Washington Times in South America and its sister publication in Washington, Tiempos del Mundo. The concert featured two outstanding musicians from Venezuela, flutist Marco Granados and harpist Annette Leon in a performance of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra with members of the New York City Symphony, David Eaton conducting. Both soloists are of notable stature in there country (Miss Leon is the principal harpist with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra in Caracas) and they performed with great panache and virtuosity as the caliber of their musicianship was extremely high.

The second half of the program feature Mr. Granados and his quartet Un Mundo in a program of Latin Jazz and Folk music. The quartet was of exceptional quality and they received a long standing ovation.

There were several dignitaries from South American Embassies in attendance and a reception followed the concert. Caroline Betancourt of the Washington Times and Matthew Goldberg of Tiempos del Mundo were co-producers of this event.

Spyro Gyra at the Omni Shoreham Ballroom.

Spyro Gyra is one of the pioneering groups of what is now known as "cool jazz." Their performance was of extremely high caliber as well. We expected that, given their reputation as one of America’s leading instrumental ensembles. The production aspects (handled by Kashmere Productions, Ltd. and New World Productions) were first rate and the reception of the audience was totally enthusiastic.

The MC for this event was radio personality Lee Hamilton of FM 105.9, the "cool jazz" station in DC.

Aaron Rosand at the Corcoran Gallery's Frances & Armand Hammer Auditorium

Aaron Rosand is on the last great exponents of the "Romantic" style of violin playing in the manner of Heifetz, Milstein, Oistrakh and Menhuin. His performance was completely masterful and he is a very giving performer.. He is a long time friend of our movement (he visited Father in Danbury) and was very happy to be part of the festival.

International Music Concert at Union Station’s East Hall.

The East Hall at Union Station is a great venue to hold an event. The majesty of the hall lent itself perfectly to our concert. The quality of the three ensembles; Alhambra (Middle Eastern Music) Music From China (Traditional Chinese instrumental music) and Hassan Hakmoun (music from Africa) was very high and the audience was very enthusiastic. This concert highlighted the multicultural aspect of the overall Festival.

Kirov Academy of Ballet at Tawes Hall, University of Maryland.

The Kirov Academy presented a completely first rate performance featuring two solo dancers of the Kirov Ballet in Russia, Yvgeni Ivanchenko and Irina Amosova. The students of the Kirov academy were totally charming. There was a very fine turn out as well with nearly 1000 people in attendance. Michael Beard, Executive Director of the Kirov Academy and his staff did a great deal to generate an audience and their efforts paid off.

Shin Sekai Chamber Ensemble at the Corcoran Gallery

This ensemble is comprised of soprano Yoshimi Kadota, Violinist Makiko Tachugi, guitarist Isamu Nakashio and pianist Rikako Asanuma. Their performances were of a very high level and their heartistic commitment to this event was evident. Having worked with them on many other occasions I was especially proud of their efforts in this concert.

Flutist Marco Granados made a guest appearance in a performance of Astor Piazzolla’s "History of the Tango" for Flute and Guitar, a piece that has become very popular in the classical music repertory. He and Isamu Nakashio performed this piece with a refined sense of sensitivity.

New York City Symphony at Union Station

This concert was a free in the main hall of Union Station. The program was comprised of light classical and seasonal music and featured singers Raoul Joseph, Miyuki Harley and Yoshimi Kadota with the orchestra. As soon as the orchestra began playing hundreds of people gathered around to listen. Singers Raoul, Miyuki and Yoshimi conveyed a kind of heart that is very attractive and they were warmly received by the large audience.

Vickie Winans and Mavis Staples at the Lincoln Theater.

These two signers represent the new and old guard in the realm of Gospel Music. Though Vickie was working with us for the first time she was very gracious and totally professional. She sang to tracks and the audience really loved her performance. Mavis is a friend of our movement having performed at WFWP conferences and for Parents on one of our church Holy Day performances at the Manhattan Center. Performing with a band, Mavis had people dancing in the aisles by the end of her show.

The MC was Allison Wilson, a radio personality in the DC area and she did a fabulous job and really got the crowd into the spirit of the evening. The turn out for the concert was quite good; 900 people with the Mayor's office requesting 200 tickets as well.

"Images of Eden" Art Exhibit

The "Images of Eden" Art Exhibit was a highlight of the Festival. It was the largest visiting art show in Washington this year featuring 200 works of art by 60 artists representing 20 countries. The works ranged from 16th century Dutch masters Pieter Brueghel and Jacob Jordeans to contemporary artists Marc Chagall and Tom Nakashima, a well known Washington artist.

There were nearly 30 Unificationist artists represented and the media coverage seems to have been be quite substantial. Over 2000 people attended the exhibit which was coordinated by Michael and Elizabeth Ennis.

RFK Stadium Production

In addition to the Festival events there was considerable effort made on the stadium production. Steve Marks and David Carlin King of Carlin Enterprises were instrumental in fulfilling our talent, production and ground transportation needs. Their company was able to secure the talents of the Chinese Ribbon Dancers, the Eastern High School Band, the West African Dancers and the Apollo Karate Team.

Soprano Jamie Baer Peterson presented a heart rendering performance of "Morning of An Age" (composed by Kevin Pickard with the text by Randolph Remmel), a piece composed for the Assembly of the World Religions conference in 1985.

The contributions of Raoul Joseph and Miyuki Harley in the stadium production should not be overlooked. They performed "Your Heart will Open the Way" which was composed by Kevin Pickard for the Blessing '97 event. They also sang Eternal Love" and World of Love, tribute songs from the 1992 and 1995 Blessings. Raoul and Miyuki work so well as a duet and I believe the music from the previous WCSF’s was most complimentary to the occasion. Their set was just right to bring the Holy Spirit into the stadium environment.

Kevin Pickard recorded much of the ceremonial music that was utilized during the RFK proceedings. Linda Eisenberg and Larry Moffitt created the script for the Stadium show and their tireless efforts in making the day a cohesive event should not be underestimated.

In Hindsight -- A reflection.

I feel that the quality of performances and production/technical support was consistently high as there were no technical problems and the artistic integrity of each event was never compromised. Being in the Performing Arts for over 21 years has taught me a great many lessons. A reoccurring theme, one that Father himself has reiterated, is that the arts are like the face of our movement. They reflect our values and beliefs -- our culture.

Over? the years we haven’t always had the proper circumstances in which to present our cultural expressions and this cultural festival was a challenge in that regard. I feel that the quality was never compromised and as a result we could be very proud of the quality of that which was presented during the week of WCSF III.

For me personally WCSF was a very rewarding experience. Having been in the Performing Arts in our movement for over 21 years, WCSF III represented a culmination of sorts. This was a harvesting of many of the seeds that Parent’s have planted in the artistic world. I’m sorry there are not more fruit to bring to the altar-artists who can fully appreciate the Father’s commitment to marriage and fidelity as a way to build the ideal of world peace.

Obviously, Father has hope and a certain faith that we can eventually achieve our innermost goals as people (and artists). I remember Father saying that the criteria for becoming a great artist was to become a grandparent. Only after experiencing all realms of family love could one qualify to express the most profound emotions via ones creative endeavors. Obviously we all have a way to before can meet that criteria.

I feel very strongly that with the proper spiritual attitude and external circumstances, many of our more talented members can produce significant art. This was evident in the "Images of Eden" art exhibit and the work of Kevin Pickard (Music Director of the RFK production) Miyuki Harley, Raoul Joseph, Linda Eisenberg (Director of the RFK show) Larry Moffitt and the Shin Sekai Ensemble. WCSF provided an unique opportunity to display the talents of our members in a very positive fashion.

I thank God and True Parents for their support in making the Cultural events of WCSF III as successful as they were and pray for even greater success in the future.

This is the letter of introduction I wrote for the WCSFIII arts program.

Letter

In my thirty years as a professional musician I've had numerous occasions to perform for audiences throughout the world. Wherever my concert experiences have taken me, I have always been fascinated by how much people from diverse cultural backgrounds have in common. The universality of the human spirit is indeed a palpable reality, thus the artistic expressions of any given culture can provide unique insights to the heart and soul of humankind.

When asked by the World Cultural and Sports Festival to construct a series of events that would reflect world culture, I felt that expressing the universality of the human spirit through the arts would be a most felicitous way to pay tribute to the ideals of love and family; central themes of the Festival and elemental values cherished by people of all ethnic backgrounds.

I have always believed that artists could, and in fact should play significant role in creating conditions conducive to world peace and harmony. Obviously, the notion that art has persuasive affections is not new. Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Boethius and St. Augustine shared the belief that art possessed the power to impact the moral and ethical standards of society. Twentieth century German composer Paul Hindemith believed that once an artist believed that particular assertion, one should then use that power "with the severest sense of moral responsibility."

As we move toward the beginning of the new millennium, the arts will continue to have a profound influence on the attitudes and values of contemporary culture. It is my hope that by discovering commonality among various cultures through the efforts of the talented artists participating in this festival, a spirit of altruism can emerge and thereby stimulate our global consciousness to aspire for a world culture that embodies the noble and godly attributes of truth, beauty and goodness.

David Eaton was the Director of Cultural Events for WCSF III.

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