Unification News for December 1998

A "Celebration of Thanksgiving"

by Christine Libon—Clifton, NJ

Though adults were present, this evening was predominantly studded with Second Generation stars. Part I was a religious service; Part II was entertainment.

Part I opened with hymns of thanks and two Bible readings given by Jeremy and Mika Gagné. Deut. 8:7-18 urges us to remember that it is God who brings us out of the wilderness and into the land of eating bread with no scarcity, the land of wealth. Remember Him by keeping His commandments and ordinances, lest we say in our hearts that it is by the power of our own hands that we have attained wealth. II Corinthians 9:6-15 promotes cheerful and generous giving so that through us a heart of thanksgiving to God can be produced. By serving and giving we glorify God, and people will long for us because of the surpassing grace of God in us; thanks be to God. Sow bountifully and you will reap bountifully. Excerpts from Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s speech, "God’s Hope for America," focused on the dedication and the sacrifice which the Pilgrims manifested. (This speech was published and delivered in Washington, D.C. in 1973, originally.)

A smoothly harmonious hymn with significant lyrics pertinent to our life and times, "If My People Will Pray," by Owens, was sung by the New Hope Chorale. Following was Rev. John Hong’s message with the key point, "Giving": "Even these young Second Generation want to get up here and GIVE something. In this regard, they are already like parents, because the parental position is the giving position." In the closing song of Part I, the Master of Ceremonies, Mr. George Allen, noted "that the words of this song need not only apply to the founders of the spiritual nation of believers, nor to Korea from where the song originated, but also to our nation of America."

FFWPU-NJ Senior Youth Choir opened the entertainment portion of the program. Their songs included:

"Giver of All, We Thank Thee" (Emerson)-Part I

"We Thank You" (Pinson)-Part I

"Moon River" (H. Mancini)-Part II

"Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses" (Sondheim-Styne)-Part II

Sunmarie Allen sang a solo in "Moon River." Last year she performed a ballet number, and she always lights up our lives with her bright sunny smile. The choir’s last number showcased the youthful energy and spirited personalities of the youth choir participants.

Half of the new "East & West" duo being ill compelled Mrs. Noriko Sprague to give a solo performance of "We’ve Only Just Begun" (Williams-Nichols) and "The Impossible Dream" (Leigh-Darion). Her popularity with the audience was made obvious by the hoots, cheers and applause.

A major highlight of the program was an original play, written and directed by Diana Santelli, which lightheartedly blended historical facts in relation to modern views of our times. The performers were:

Celestine Compton, portraying a modern-day teenager; Sylvia Santelli, as Gov. William Bradford of Massachusetts; Mika Kuwahara, as Rebecca Holmquist (a Pilgrim mother); and Stephen Bien, portraying Squanto (a Native American).

Special commendations to these players for learning and delivering their lines dramatically.

About the playwright: Diana Santelli is a seventh-grader at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Clifton, NJ. She is the second-born of four siblings. Diana has acted in four or five plays, but this was her debut as writer-director-coordinator. Remembering Diana’s essay on the Fourth of July last year, I asked her if she had a soft spot in her heart for immigrants to this country. Diana said that her favorite subject is the history of North America. Until recently, she was also a member of the Student Leadership Corps.

Research for dates and information, especially about William Bradford, was done on her computer. The final song of the play, "We Are One In The Spirit," was chosen because "the words made sense" in accord with the theme of the play; the rhythm also added a Native American flavor. Diana also selected the costumes, rented from "At A Glance" in Butler, NJ, owned and operated by a wonderful lady (who made many of the costumes herself) on extremely reasonable terms.

Diana’s dad is Francesco Santelli, long-time choir director, music minister, and assistant producer of this event.

We were also privileged to have a special guest performance by that tenor from across the Hudson, Robert Hall, who sang three Italian arias.

A new soloist just reaching her teenage years, Il Hwa Yokpore, truly graced our evening with beauty, clarity and maturity of voice. She delivered her songs "Amazing Grace" and "Beauty and the Beast" (Menken-Ashman) impressively if (understandably) a bit nervously. We in New Jersey are rooting for her as she pursues the development of her talent. All can see her great potential.

The evening concluded with the well-practiced New Hope Chorale of NJ presenting selections from "The Sound of Music" and the congregation joining in "Let There Be Peace On Earth" (Miller). We then proceeded downstairs to a sumptuous turkey dinner prepared by Mrs. Hong and our loving and humble sisters serving behind the scenes. Special thanks to Rev. and Mrs. Hong for making such a lovely evening possible.

Seating was limited to the families and guests of the choir participants. Those interested in participating next year or in other upcoming events please inquire: Francesco Santelli at tel. (973)472-3755 or fax (973)472-8058.

More thanks go to many others who helped behind the scenes with preparations and decorations and program layout: Mrs. Y. Kono, Mrs. A. Hirose, Mrs. Sprague, Mrs. Muranaka, Mr. Roger S. Bantawan, Christine Libon.

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