Unification News for September 1998

Mid-Summer Gospel Extravaganza at Macy’s in Brooklyn

by Christine Libon-Clifton NJ

Rev. Joong Hyun Pak, inspired by the idea of Rev. Dennis Dillon, master of ceremonies at Blessing ’98 in Madison Square Garden, suggested we organize our choir members to participate in this event which would feature performances by choirs or groups rotating on Wednesday and Thursday night, Aug. 5-6.

Song and music are universal. Throughout history, folktales and songs have been passing down traditions. Lullabies have comforted babies. Love songs have expressed the inner passion of mates. And hymns of praise have filled us with the Spirit and united us in heart. Songs can touch the hearts of all, even beyond the barriers of language.

Our director, and also accompanist for this event, Francesco Santelli, chose three melodious numbers: "If I Can Help Somebody," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Let There Be Peace On Earth." Onlookers were definitely impressed and appreciative, judging from the applause and reaction. One woman remarked, "I’ve truly been blessed tonight." Another was a man whose parents had both been ministers, one a Baptist and the other a Methodist. He himself had also been a minister for a time. "What Church are you with?" he asked. "Well, to me, we’re all just one big church. This is my daughter...." She received Holy Candy. In effect, we definitely raised the spiritual atmosphere in that secular place. We also hope more members from the region will turn out to participate in upcoming events with Christian churches.

Reflecting over dinner, later with participants, brought back memories of street-preaching and fundraising by performing in the subways (where we still find our Muslim brothers and sisters).

Special thanks go to Rev. Holt for making it possible for the choir to participate in this and previous events and also to Rev. Hong for his complete support in purchasing robes, encouraging participation of members, and treating us to dinner. We are also deeply indebted to Mrs. Kono for her effort and investment of time in coordinating the Regional Choir. With Mrs. Kono as the ever-bearing mother, classically trained professional singers, an original New Hope Singer, and others with many years of music training, the New Hope Chorale has plans for fall and winter performances. But basically we’re just a bunch of good people with the right way of living hoping to heal the wounds of racism and trying to steer this modern-day American culture in the right direction. Please address any inquiries about joining us for future events to Mrs. Kono (973)235-1868.

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