The Words of the Tardy Family
In an energized mood, a packed house was set and ready for action on the evening of Friday, March 19th, for a Tribute Concert for Hyo Jin Moon, the eldest son of Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon who unexpectedly passed away on March 17, 2008, suffering a heart attack at the age of 45. With the second anniversary of his ascension being two days prior, numerous family members, Unification Church members, close friends, former colleagues, and loyal fans joined in the occasion to commemorate the life of someone who is still living in so many hearts.
The back half of the main hall was standing room only, filled with young people standing and cheering. All were eager to witness the performances that were to take place this evening and give their full respect to Hyo Jin Moon.
To open the night, Rev. In Jin Moon spoke in honor of her elder brother. In initiating this annual concert event, she hoped to share with each person the life and memories of her brother. When looking back on the life that her brother had led, she noted one specific unique quality that she felt he had beyond all else: loyalty to his father and mother, regardless of what he was asked to face. In Jin Nim shared, "No matter what he was going through, he was absolutely loyal to them in his heart, in his prayers, and in his life. Even to the last breath, he was a warrior, a soldier who was trying his best to live up to the position that he was born into and to really make his destiny shine in showing all of us what true loyalty means."
A video tribute to his life was then shown, opening with Hyo Jin Nim playing "Rebirth," one of the 10,000 songs that he composed, to a live audience. This remarkable montage video, produced by In Jin Nim herself, presented footage of Hyo Jin Moon on his concert tours, singing his original compositions that expressed his passion and conviction to serve his parents, interspersed with photos of his early life in Korea and growing up in New York. It caused many in the audience to be moved to tears while learning even more about him.
One such Second Generation reflected after the concert, "Through-out my 25 years being raised in this movement, I saw so many images during the video tribute that showed me a side of Hyo Jin Nim that I had never seen before, especially how he related with his dad when he was younger."
Remarkable performances were offered that night, starting with that of former band member Joe Longo, who had worked together with Hyo Jin Nim in the music field for over 30 years. Together with band members from Longo's current band, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, Longo played songs that he knew Hyo Jin Nim enjoyed tremendously or were even composed by him in the past, such as the blues number "Let It Roll," which represented "those days jammin' together" with Hyo Jin Nim.
Each song, including both rock and roll and soft ballads, had a story behind it that was shared with the audience. Longo's own song, "Talking to the Buddha," originally written with True Father in mind, was sung in dedication to the oneness between Hyo Jin Nim and his father. "She's in Her Own World," was dedicated to In Jin Nim and had everyone on their feet and clapping with the music. Soft ballads that Hyo Jin Nim enjoyed, such as "Baby Jane" were played specifically for him that night. For an encore, Longo ended with a rendition of "Angels We Have Heard on High" that had the audience going wild with cheering.
The up-and-coming Lovin' Life Ministries band was brought to the stage next. Although still a new collaboration of skilled performers, this band also includes two members who played with Hyo Jin Nim in past years. Songs specifically chosen for Hyo Jin Nim included "Will You Remember Me?," "Halo," "I'll Stand By You," "We are Champions," "Dream On,"and an original piece, "Turn," by Chris Alan Derflinger. The audience also received an encore performance after its chanting pursued this band as well.
The last band performance that night was of significant importance in that it was a collaboration of performers who had played with Hyo Jin Nim: lead singer Ben Lorentzen, Bill Miho on bass, Kurt Garrison on guitar, and Brian Hardgroove on drums. Between each song, performers offered recollections of both songwriting and performing experiences. Songs included "Stairway to Heaven," as well as a particular hit for the audience that night, Metallica's well-known "Enter Sandman," which had been first introduced to Ben by Hyo Jin Nim years before. Both songs had over a hundred youth around the room on their feet and jumping. Chants of "HYO JIN NIM, HYO JIN NIM" brought the room to life! A finale of "Born to be Wild" brought all three bands on stage to perform together.
Asked after the concert what his favorite part was and what Hyo Jin Nim's feelings about the concert might be, performer and long-time friend Joe Longo replied, "It is all about getting together, and that is the magic of music. We did that in this room tonight, and everyone transcended to a different level. I think we will all walk off a little more empowered tonight. Hyo Jin Nim must be laughing so much right now and having such a good time!"
Joe Longo continued to share, "Tonight I really felt the place catch on fire from the beginning. I think Hyo Jin Nim was always in that space, always on fire. It was like being in storm all the time when being with him, and I feel like that fire came tonight. Everybody was free, with many screaming at the top of their lungs. I think it was a very liberating thing for everybody, and probably for him, too. I think he was probably laughing a lot in spirit world. I kept thinking of him and having to hide a smile tonight; even if it was a serious song, I was hiding a smile because I felt him really laughing. So, he was definitely here with us. It was a very cool experience, and I'm honored to have been a part of it."