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Virginia Schiller Chorus Draws Its Largest Crowd New Year’s Day

On Wednesday, January 1, 2020, the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus and friends, hosted their largest ever New Year’s Concert featuring timeless choral pieces from Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, and Dvorak.

Our concerts are becoming a growing institution in the area, not just for audience members, but for local musicians who like performing with us. A talented violinist, who is a regular on the “classical music scene” in DC/Northern Virginia, remarked that he always appreciates the openness of our audiences, seeing “normal” people genuinely appreciating the beauty of the pieces, as opposed to the “professional audiences” he so often performs for, who are more concerned with “being seen” at such events, than letting the music move them.

The audience was full and diverse. Choral directors from churches across the area came to hear the concert, political contacts of the Schiller Institute attended, including an Ambassador and his family from a Southeast Asian country, music students, and others who ventured out to find something different than watch football on New Year’s Day!

The program of the event is below. Audience members were given the text and translations for each of the pieces to follow along.

Beethoven, Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
Haydn, Die Himmel Erzälen, from The Creation
Brahms, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, from German Requiem
Bach, Quia Respexit, Omnes generationes
Handel, Ombra mai fu, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Puccini, Recondita armonia, from Tosca, tenor, Reginald Bouknight
Mozart, In uomini, in soldati, from Così fan tutte, mezzo, Pamela Butler
Beethoven, Harp String Quartet, op. 74 (1809), I. Poco adagio – Allegro

Intermission

Mendelssohn, Neujarhslied
Beethoven, Serenade, op. 25 (1796), VI. Adagio – Allegro vivace e disinvolta
Kreisler, Praeludium and Allegro (1905)
Mozart, Laudate Pueri, from Solemn Vespers
Verdi, Va Pensiero, from Nabucco
Dvorak/Fisher, Goin’ Home
Hall Johnson, Lord, I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired
Handel, Worth is the Lamb, Amen, from The Messiah
Joy to the World, Everyone sing!

The fact that these were seemingly “ordinary” people from the community performing these masterful pieces in a local church was not lost on the audience. In fact, it seemed to enrich the event for people, many who then asked themselves, “well, maybe I could sing?”

The other remarkable part of the this and other concerts the Schiller Institute hosts, was articulated best by our director, Mike Billington in remarks he made on a LaRouchePAC Fireside Chat broadcast,

“It was a concert of Beethoven, Brahms, and other great Classical choruses, with some wonderful professionals, who volunteer their time to come and play with us, because they love to work with us because of our commitment to the idea of the aesthetic education of the population. The fact that this many people from all walks of life showed up in Leesburg, Virginia to watch a Schiller Institute Community Chorus concert, I think in itself reflects the transformation that’s taken place in the United States; and the potential of the LaRouche message — the slanders and the attacks that characterized the treatment of LaRouche over these years, including his incarceration, is no longer believed.”

 


Historic Schiller Institute Memorial To Tu-154 Disaster at the Tear-Drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey

A truly beautiful and world historic event took place Saturday at the Tear-Drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey. The Schiller Institute Chorus, following their performance of the Russian National Anthem at the Russian Consulate in Manhattan last week in memory of the 92 victims of the Tu-154 crash, and especially the death of 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, organized a similar, broader event at the Tear-Drop Memorial, donated to America by the Russian government to honor those who died on 9/11. Attending and/or speaking at the event were representatives of the Russian Mission to the UN, the NYPD, the Bayonne Fire Department, the Bayonne American Legion, the 9-11 Families United for Justice Against Terror, and the Schiller Institute, who sang and/or spoke, in a winter storm, about the necessity of the people and governments of Russia and America to unite in honor of the deceased, while demonstrating that the common, human emotion that unites us to mourn those who have been taken from us, can and must also unite us in creating a better future for Mankind.

The transcript of the event follows:


Russians and Americans Join for Wreath-Laying at Tear-Drop Memorial To Remember Those Who Died in Tu-154 Plane Crash

LIEUTENANT TONY GIORGIO (Director of the NYPD Ceremonial Unit): Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.   Welcome to the Bayonne, New Jersey 9/11 Memorial, a gift from the Russian people after the tragic attacks at the World Trade Center in memory of both the February 1993 and Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
And we’re here this morning to pay homage and tribute to those Russian members that were killed on Christmas Day. Everyone please remain standing for the presentation of our colors, for the New York City Police Department Color Guard, the Bayonne Fire Department Honor Guard, and the American Legion Honor Guard; and the singing of both the Russian Federation National Anthem and the United States National Anthem, which will be performed by the Schiller Institute Chorus, directed by Diane Sare.
And now, our Anthems. … [after the National Anthems, presenting of the colors, and invocation, Lieutenant Giorgio introduced the First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Mr. Petr Iliichev].

MR. PETR ILIICHEV:  Friends and colleagues, we gather today to honor the victims of the devastating crash of the Tupolev-154 that happened two weeks ago.  We come together to commemorate 92 passengers including members of world famous Alexandrov Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance; the prominent charity worker and
humanitarian worker Dr. Liza Glinka; teams of Russian TV channels [Channel One?], Zvezda, NTV; as well as the crew of the plane.
Our thoughts and prayers are going to the families of the victims.  The singers, the dancers, doctors, journalists, pilots and stewards, lived their lives for a purpose, especially the performers who used to cheer up huge audiences, but today we stay silent in their memory.
Today is the Orthodox Christmas Day, and on Christmas Day in every nation, we share life, love, we exchange support; we praise each other, we treat each other as being one family.  And it’s very symbolic that today we gather to grieve at the Tear-Drop of grief that is very dear to the American people for their loss of 9/11.
On behalf of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you present here, to all of those who organized this event.  It’s helpful when you’re grieving, and you are not alone, your friends are around to offer you their compassion, their heartwarming solidarity.  We value very much your sympathy and your solidarity.
It’s said that when words fail, music speaks.  Arts and culture are meant to bring peace to people.  So once again, I’m very grateful for Schiller Institute Chorus for what they have done, and all of you who are present here.  Thank you.

LT. GIORGIO: Thank you so much, Mr. Illichev.  And now, I’d like to introduce the Chairwoman of the 9-11 Families United for Justice against Terror, Mrs. Terry Strada.

MRS. TERRY STRADA:  Hello and thank you for having me.
Fifteen years ago I lost my husband Tom, in the September 11th terrorist attack against our nation.  Today, on behalf of everyone standing here, and the American people, I would like to offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences, for the sudden, tragic and senseless death of your beloved Alexandrov Ensemble, your loved ones, and your fellow citizens.
Rich in history and pride, the Alexandrov Ensemble bolstered the spirits of the deprived soldiers defending the Warsaw Pact and under President Vladimir Putin, continued that tradition of patriot purpose.  Their performances would provide a moral balance in difficult times, and on December 25th, they were travelling to Syria to lift the spirits of the Russian army during their time away from home.
Everyone here knows your pain, how deep your sorrow goes, and the feeling that you may drown in your tears.  Grief like this is both physical and heartbreaking and the road to healing is long and difficult.  Allow yourself to mourn, to cry and to be sad.  Remember those you loved, and lost.  Remember the beautiful music they made, and how it felt in your hearts when you heard their songs and the sound of their beautiful  nstruments:  They were a gift from God and they are gone, too soon.
I am standing here today to tell you to tell you and to show you, you will heal, you will never forget, but you will heal, and one day the pain you are feeling, this horrible pain, will subside.  You will miss them, and they will always be with you in spirit.
Tragedies like this can bring a nation today.  Today, it is bringing two nations together, and I hope you find comfort in knowing we feel your pain and mourn your loss, too.  Russia wanted us, the American people, to have a memorial for the fallen heroes and the citizens lost and killed on 9/11, with a tear-drop, representing that the world cried with us.  Thank you for your kindness and support.  Today we offer you the same.
Thank you.

LT. GIORGIO:  Thank you Mrs. Strada.  And now, I continue with the Training Unit of the Bayonne Fire Department, Capt. Don Haiber.

CAPT. DON HAIBER (Training Unit of the Bayonne Fire Department):  On behalf of the Bayonne Fire Department, the City of Bayonne, the State of New Jersey, and the United States of America, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to the people of Russia and the families that have been affected by this terrible tragedy.  The loss of the members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a gem of Russian culture, also known as the Red Army
Chorus, will be felt worldwide.
Being hear at the Tear-Drop Memorial is fitting, since the creator of this monument was the Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.  In the darkness after 9/11, this monument helped to bring hope and light to the many people who visited here.  It is now our turn to repay that kindness back to Russia.  This small token of our sympathy, hopefully, will bring a touch of hope and light back to the Russian people.
On a personal level, I’m honored to be here today, as I was actually at the Ground Zero, working with my brother firemen for a few days.  And may the peace and hope that I feel when I am here be conveyed back to your country.  It is at times like this that we are neither Americans nor Russians, but we are human beings who feel loss and genuinely wish peace and happiness to one another.
Our love and prayers are with you, and peace to all.  Thank you.

LT. GIORGIO:  Thank you, Captain Haiber.  As the Captain mentioned, one of the reasons that we are here is not only is it the 9/11 memorial, but also we are commemorating those lost on Christmas Day, in that terrible plane crash.  As a representative of the New York City Police Department, we, too, performed with the Russian choir at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 that was being held in Quebec City, and it was a wonderful performance that
night.  But as Mr. Iliichev said, sometimes the words fail, but the music never fails.  And even though we spoke two different languages, we spoke the universal language of music which always gives us hope, comfort, and peace, and that’s all we want in this world are those three things.
I now introduce the director of the choir, Mrs. Diane Sare.

DIANE SARE:  First of all, let me assure everyone, we are not a group of Russian immigrants, as was said on YouTube.
On behalf of the Schiller Institute of Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to Russia and the people of Russia on the great losses you have recently suffered.  First, your beloved Ambassador [to Ankara] Karlov was gunned down at an art museum.  Then, only a few days later, on Christmas Day was the terrible plane crash, which took the lives of 92 people:  Among them was a dedicated crew, a group
of very talented young journalists, Dr. Elizeveta Glinka, whom you mentioned who was bringing food and medical aid to children in Syria, and 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble and the wonderful soloist, Grigory Osipov who sang {God Bless America} to the New York Police Department on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The loss of the chorus was particularly great, because as everyone who sings in a chorus knows, the combination of our voices is greater than each of us individually, or each of us added up as parts.  Each and every one of us is going to die. But we hope that mankind will be immortal.  If we can each think of ourselves as unique voices in a great chorus which stands across generations and across continents, then the universe will resound with the beauty of mankind.

LT. GIORGIO:  Thank you so much.  And now, we’re going to ask to have the wreath presented, also with the list of passengers on that tragic flight, as the chorus performs a Christmas carol.  [Schiller Institute Chorus sings {Adeste Fideles}]
Thank you so much.  As we conclude today’s memorial and commemorative ceremony, again we want to thank the Schiller Institute Choir, we want to thank the City of Bayonne, New Jersey Fire Department for all they gave us here in hosting this event, and we ask those of you with the white roses to please, as you can, step forward to the Tear-Drop Memorial and place it for all those that we have lost and for the hope we have in the world as
we continue in their honor.
Thank you so much.

DIANE SARE:  And, I wish to thank Lt. Tony Giorgio and the New York City Police Department Ceremonial Unit for all you have done.


Message of condolence to the Alexandrov Ensemble and the People of Russia

Founder and President of the Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche issued the following message:


Message of condolence to the Alexandrov Ensemble and the People of Russia

In the name of the International Schiller Institute, I wish to express our deep condolences for the tragic loss of the the 92 human beings who died in the plane crash on the way to Syria. This accident is all the more a cause for sadness, as the music and patriotic spirit characteristic of the members of the Alexandrov Ensemble would have brought a message of hope to the people of Syria. This is a population victimized by more than five years of the criminal policies of regime change and treated as the pawns in a geopolitical game in complete violation of their sovereignity.

The Alexandrov Ensemble has been an expression of the highest moral values of Russia and, like classical choral singing in general, speaks to the soul and the creative potential of the audience. It is therefore extremely important that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that he is initiating auditions to pick the best talents to fully restore the Alexandrov Chorus.

The training of the singing voice is important for everybody, since a well-placed voice can express the creative intention of the composer and directly speak to the same faculty in the audience. It represents, therefore, an irreplaceable element of the harmonious development of the character. Let me therefore share with you the idea that, in addition to rebuilding the Alexandrov Ensemble, thousands of Alexandrov choruses be established in schools all over Russia to honor the heroic contribution of Russia in the liberation of Syria and, at the same time, broaden the uplifting effect of choral singing to the young generation.

There is a New Paradigm in the process of becoming as exemplified by the integration of the Eurasian Union and the New Silk Road Initiative, establishing a completely new kind of relations among nations. We need a dialogue of the best tradtions of each culture for this New Paradigm to grow into a new era of civilization—the knowledge of the best of another culture will lead to a love for it, and therefore supercede xenophobia and hatred with more noble emotions. In this new era, geopolitics will be overcome forever and the dedication to the common aims of mankind will establish a higher level of reason. It is a reason for consolation for all of us, that the tragic death of the victims of the plane crash contribute with their immortality to the building of that better world.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Chairwoman, International Schiller Institute


Musical Offering to the Alexandrov Ensemble and the People of Russia

Members of the NYC Schiller Institute Community Chorus sing the Russian National Anthem outside the Russian Consulate in New York in honor of the passengers, many of them members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, who died when their plane crashed enroute to Syria, Sunday, December 25, 2016.

 

 


Ceremony on the Third Anniversary Memorial for the Alexandrov Ensemble

It Is Time That Man Grew Into a New Paradigm

On December 28, 2019 the Schiller Institute participated in the third annual memorial in honor of the Alexandrov Ensemble, at the Tear Drop Memorial in Bayonne, New Jersey.  In 2016, 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, along with 24 others, perished when their plane crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria.  What follows is a transcript of the memorial including remarks from Capt. Donald Haiber, Father John Fencik, Chief Keith Weaver, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Mission to the United Nations Mr. Dmitry Chumakov,  Deputy Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic Mission Dr. Louay Falouh, Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche,  founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus, Diane Sare, and Mr. Kevin Maynor.

Transcript of ceremony:

Capt. Donald Haiber, Bayonne, N.J. Fire Department: First I want to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas. Secondly, for those of you that have been with us for the last few years, it looks like we lucked out with some balmy weather. I know it’s been cold and snowing in the past, but today looks like a beautiful day, and it’s a nice way for a remembrance.

Some of the people who are here today, we have our Office of Emergency Management Director Mr. Ferantay [ph], the chief of the department Keith Weaver; we also have the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation Mr. Dmitry Chumakov; and also, I’d like to recognize the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, Dr. Fallouh. And also a very special thank to Mr. Kevin Maynor, who’s behind me. I also want to recognize Father Fencik: He’s been here every year with us, braving the cold. And the last person I want to thank is the Co-Director of the Schiller Institute New York Chorus Diane Sare, who, without her, none of this happens.

On behalf of the Bayonne Fire Department and the City of Bayonne, we welcome you all to today’s ceremony. Father Fencik, would you please do the invocation?

Father John Fencik: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. O Heavenly King, the Comforter, O Spirit of Truth, Who everywhere present through all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come into all within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.

This is the prayer that is traditionally said at the beginning of any type of function that involves the Russian people. We pray that we who are gathered here today, in memory of those departed members of the Alexandrov Choirs, those who departed with them this life in December of 2016. We pray that God give them eternal rest in His heavenly mansion. We pray that this ceremony retains their memory, and brings them all to life everlasting. Amen.

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Color Guard posts colors. Chorus presents the Russian Federation National Anthem and United States of America National Anthem.

Captain Haiber: Thank you all very much. That was beautiful. I’m going to introduce Chief Weaver who wants to say a few words as well. Professionally, he is my chief, he’s my boss, but I’m honored, personally, to say that he is my friend — Chief Weaver.

Chief Keith Weaver: Good morning to everyone in attendance today. I’m grateful for this opportunity to say a few words in honor of the lives lost on Christmas Day 2016. Today, we pause to remember and honor the tragic loss of Alexandrov Ensemble. The loss of this extremely talented group was a loss for the entire globe. I’m honored to be speaking at this fitting site, as this Tear Drop Memorial was donated to our city from our world neighbors in Russia. The gift is a reminder that although we may be separated by nationality, we are united in humanity. As brothers and sisters, we share in your grief, and also share in your hope for a brighter future for all mankind. May the lives lost on that tragic day, three years ago, rest in peace. Thank you.

Captain Haiber: Thank you, Chief. Mr. Chumakov will have a few words to say.

Dmitry Chumakov: Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends: We are very pleased to welcome all those of you who have joined us today in the memory of the Alexandrov Ensemble, and the victims of the plane crash that happened on the 26th December 2016, just a couple of days from today, three years ago. It was a legendary ensemble, media workers from Russian TV channels, and the famous philanthropist Elizaveta Glinka: They were bringing to Syria, the Christmas mood, they were bringing into a war-torn country, and it was a big tragedy and loss.

The Russian Mission is grateful to the Schiller Institute, to the Fire Department of the City of Bayonne: without you, this event would not be possible. It’s becoming a tradition. We are getting together for the third time now, and this is a great honor for us to share these human feelings and share with you the losses and compassion. This memorial event is a great example [inaudible] honor and solidarity between our countries. The Alexandrov Ensemble has been reinstated, and I just want you to know that the new performers [inaudible] we also want you to know that that humanitarian projects started by Elizaveta Glinka are implemented by her followers. And it’s also important to say that we’re still making a lot of efforts to bring peace to Syria, and to help Syria, and to help the political settlement in this country. So, it is only with political settlement that the problems can be solved.

We once again must give tribute to these brave and merciful people who are our modern-day heroes. They are symbols of patriotism and humanity are given to us today: May their souls rest in peace. And thank you very much for joining us today.

Captain Haiber: Thank you Mr. Chumakov. We are here once again to give our condolences and sympathy to the families of the Alexandrov Ensemble and to the people of Russia. Everyone here proves, I believe, that this small remembrance shows our humanity towards one another — and God knows, we could use more of that.

Once again, it’s fitting that we’re here at the Tear Drop, because the creator of this structure was the Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. In the darkness after 9/11, this monument helped to bring peace and the light of hope to the many people [inaudible] here. We now wish to pay that forward, back to the Russian people and the families of the Alexandrov Ensemble.

May the serenity and hope that I feel when I am here be conveyed back to the people of Russia. Music has meaning, and this quote from Billy Joel conveys that better than anything I could ever say: “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by, no matter where we are from, everyone loves music.” It is times like this that we are neither Americans nor Russians, nor Syrians, but we are just human beings who genuinely wish peace and happiness to one another.

Once again, I will try to convey my thoughts in Russian. I’ve been practicing and hopefully this gets it through: [Russian remark].

It is now my honor to introduce Mr. Kevin Maynor. He has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many others. Mr. Maynor was the first apprentice artist from the West to study at the Bolshoi in Moscow, where he studied and sang. He will now also share a few words with you.

Kevin Maynor: Thank you. [Sings Russian folk song “Still One Star”] I don’t think anybody can talk about the Alexandrov Ensemble, the great Russian Army Chorus, and not think of the great [inaudible] that was meant to encourage, sung by the Volga boatmen. I think of the Volga boatmen and the Volga River, which I had the pleasure of seeing in the year 2000-2001 upon my return to Russia. My first experience of 1979-1980, and the Russian people embraced me with a certain kind of love that I will never, ever forget. I love them dearly, from the bottom of my heart. There’s no bass in the world — no bass in the world — no singing bass, that does not admire the training and the beauty of the great Russian basses and the great Russian singers. I think these people and the contributions they have made to the world, regardless of the confusions and the politics that might be involved between countries, one thing for sure, music, it is true, it is the healing source. It is the language that we all speak and understand. And when we don’t understand one another, we learn to appreciate, which is the key, actually, to bringing people closer together, appreciation for one another.

I want to take the time to sing for you a spiritual, one that was sung by the great Paul Robeson, who was a great singer, one that many admire — certainly the Russian people admire. He sang this song amongst them, and I want to sing it for you all: It’s called There Is a Balm in Gilead.

God bless the Alexandrov Ensemble. God bless their mission. God bless all of you who are gathered here, today.

Captain Haiber: Thank you Mr. Maynor. I do have to say, that is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche: I extend my greetings to all of you gathered today to commemorate the lives of the 92 passengers and crew, who died when the Russian TU 154 crashed into the Black Sea on December 25th, 2016. Sixty-four singers of the Alexandrov Ensemble, plus the crew of the plane, members of the Russian military, Russian journalists and the beloved relief worker Dr. Elizaveta Glinka all perished that winter night, while flying to give Christmas comfort and cheer to soldiers who were battling to liberate Syria from the terrorist scourge of ISIS.

Each of the people on that plane was like the Good Samaritan that Schiller writes about in his Kallias essays On the Beautiful. In Schiller’s story, several people stopped by the side of the road to help the injured man, but some asked for money, some wanted recognition, and to put down others who didn’t stop; but only one person stopped, and very naturally and happily put down his own load, to carry the injured man without a second thought for himself.

In 2020, the world will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi terror in May of 1945. At that time, people vowed, “Never Again!” And now, 75 years later, mankind again is threatened with the danger of cultural decadence and even potentially a great war. As Schiller said, it is only through aesthetic education through great classical art that the ennoblement of man can occur. It is time that mankind grew into a new paradigm where, as Shelley and Schiller proposed, the poets and artists become the natural leaders of the age.

Diane Sare: Good morning, now speaking on behalf of the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus, I would like to say that a chorus is a very special thing. It is a group of diverse individuals, who discover through the art of a great composer that their diversity becomes their strength.

Our chorus had existed for just two years when I received the news on Christmas Day 2016 of the crash of the Red Army Chorus, and it was like getting punched in the stomach. Some of us quickly enlisted the help of a Russian-American chorus member to pronounce the words to the Russian National Anthem, and we went to the Consulate and sang it outside on the sidewalk.

I learned that the NYPD Ceremonial Unit had been deeply moved by the Ensemble at the Military Bands Tattoo in Quebec City in 2011, which had happened to fall on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A wonderful baritone, Grigory Osipov sang God Bless America, which they performed as a gift to the NYPD Ceremonial Unit, and a young boy came and presented the director, Lt. Tony Giorgio, with a single white rose. You will see Osipov’s name on the list of those who perished in that terrible crash.

The United States, Russia, and Syria have all suffered the devastating effects of terrorism, but I am optimistic that perhaps the warm weather here this year may be a sign of the warmth of the friendship that our nations and peoples may share in our musical dialogue.

Father Fencik: The Church teaches us that as long as we keep a person’s memory alive, they are still with us. It is traditional at the end of any memorial service that the hymn Eternal Memory is sung, and the Russian hymn. So we will conclude this memorial service with the prayer for the departed and the singing of the memorial hymn.

O God of spirits and all flesh, who has conquered Satan and vanquished death, and granted life to your world, Lord give rest to the souls of your faithfully departed servants. in a peaceful, serene place, from which all pain and sorrow and sighing are absent. As the good and gracious God Who loves mankind, forgive all transgressions committed by them in word or in thought, voluntarily as a human frailty. There is no man living who does not sin. You alone are without sin. Your truth is truth for eternity, your word alone reality. For you are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose for your departed servants, Oh Christ, our God. We rend You glory together, Eternal Father, holy gracious and life-creating Spirit, always now and ever, and forever. Amen.

In blessed repose grant eternal rest, Oh Lord, to the souls of Your departed servants. Make eternal their memories, Vechnaya pamyat! [Eternal memory!]


New Year’s Concert: Timeless Choruses of the Masters

You are invited to the 4th annual New Year’s Day Concert of the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus and friends. Join us for timeless choral pieces from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and more. All are welcome, free admission, donations appreciated, reception to follow. Come ring in the New Year with us!

When: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Where: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 605 W. Market St. Leesburg, VA

Who: All are welcome! Reception to follow.

 

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Interested in singing in a chorus? We are a non-audition chorus made up of singers of a variety of backgrounds and experience. Come join us for the 2020 Spring/Summer season!

Learn more



9/11 Memorial Concert

 

This concert, held at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ was the fourth of four “9/11 Living Memorial Concerts” to honor all the victims of 9/11 and its aftermath.

Lynn Yen, the executive director of the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture (FFTROCC) opened the event, discussing the importance of the occasion, and why the Schiller Institute chose to perform the four African American Spirituals, the Mozart “Requiem” and the Handel “Amen” chorus at the concert. She also introduced Jose Vega, a student with the Foundation, two Islamic leaders in the audience, and Terry Strada, of the 911 Families and a tireless fighter for Justice. Ms. Strada received a standing ovation for her work.

Lynn Yen introduced Terry Strada, saying,” At this point I would like to introduce somebody very special to all of you. Many of you probably know of her. Her name is Terry Strada. She is the national chairwoman of the 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. She and her organization were instrumental in the release of the 28 pages of the congressional report on 9/11. Without further ado, I’m going to turn the microphone over to her.”

Address by Terry Strada: 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism

Terry Strada addressed the hundreds of concert attendees in the church, which was full: “Thank you! Thank you very much! My name is Terry Strada, and I lost my husband on September 11th, 2001. Tom was 41 years old when he went to work that day, and never came home again. We have three children. At the time, they were 7 years old, 4 years old, and our youngest was only 4 days old.

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Terry Strada, left, and Lynn Yen

“On September 12th, 2001 I woke up — well, I probably didn’t sleep that night — so when the sun came up, the questions were, “Who did this? Why would they do this?”, and “How could they possibly do this? How could they attack our country like this, and how could they kill so many innocent people in one day?”

“Because I wanted to know the answers, I started to ask the questions more and more. And so did more and more 9/11 families. United to Bankrupt Terrorism was our first title, and now we’re United Together for Justice Against Terrorism. Of course it was the 28 pages that we focused on in the beginning that needed to be released. And when they were released, there were two key things that we learned. One, is that Saudi Arabia has never been fully investigated for the role that they played in 9/11; and two, that it is indisputable that the Saudis played a very important role in 9/11.

The second piece of legislation that I’ve been working on for over four years now, is called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. This bill is intended to fix a minor problem in our current Foreign Sovereignty Immunity Act of 1976. So, it’s a 40-year-old law that has stood for 40 years, until we looked further into the Saudi’s role in 9/11, found the evidence, and tried to hold them accountable.

“What happened next was that the courts decided to misinterpret the law and dismiss them on sovereign immunity. Make no mistake. No country, no entity, no individual is entitled to immunity — sovereign immunity, any type of immunity — in the case of a terrorist act. This bill is intended to hold any nation accountable for a terrorist attack on U.S. soil that kills United States citizens.

We’ve chosen this path because it’s a peaceful way to fight terrorism. We don’t want to see more bloodshed; we don’t ever want to see more people die over 9/11. And we also want to protect our borders; we want to protect our country; we want to protect you; I want to protect my children. And the way that we do this, is by holding the nations accountable that fund known terrorist organizations, like al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram.

People say, “You can’t fight the lone wolf.” I say, “Yes, we can!” If we cut off the funding, and we destroy their capabilities to recruit and incite, and bring on more terror and to brainwash people, we can eliminate ISIS. And that is our long-term goal. The short-term goal, right now, is to get Saudi Arabia off of this crazy [situation] that they’re not held accountable.

“In May, the Senate passed unanimously this Bill, and on Friday, September 9th, it went to the U.S. House of Representatives. I was in the gallery and was honored and proud to see each and every one of our 435 Members in the House vote “Yes” for JASTA. [applause] Thank you, thank you. I don’t really know how many times this has ever happened on our history, that we have both Chambers of Congress voting “Yes” unanimously. What this means for the President: as of 4:00 today, he was still threatening to veto the Bill. The Bill will be sent over to his office for signature later on tonight, at the latest tomorrow. We’re doing everything we can to convince him to not do this.

You probably hear things in the news — and I’ll kind of wrap this up, because I want to hear the music as badly as you do — but you may hear in the news, things about the Bill. They’re simply not true, if they’re coming from the Administration. Unfortunately, they are the mouthpiece for the Saudis at this point. We just need to point out to them how important this is, to hold them accountable — any nation, going forward — would be held accountable, and how important it is for our country to have that type of security net.

“If the President does decide to veto this Bill, it will be our last hurdle; it may be our biggest. But we plan to overcome it, and override the veto. Hopefully the Senate and the House will fall into line and do that for us.

“If there’s anything that you’d like to do to help, going forward, it’s PassJasta.Org.  That’s our website. It’s updated as often as I can get to a computer and update it. There are usually just simple instructions of how you can reach out to the White House, your Representative, or a co-sponsor of the bill. This is very important legislation. I thank you very much for taking the time to listen to me, and now I’m so honored to have these wonderful musicians. I have heard them practice. You are in for a treat. This is going to be a very wonderful time now for us to just transcend ourselves from the evil, to a higher place — to a place where Good is. I believe Good will win, and I thank you for coming.”

 


NYC Schiller Chorus Gets Standing Ovation at South Bronx Church

On Sunday July 28th, the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus gave a concert at the Church of St Anselm and St Roch in the South Bronx.  The chorus of about 60, performed four Negro Spirituals (one was an encore) a couple of Spanish hymns (including a popular setting of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from his Ninth Symphony), two movements from Schubert’s Mass in G, the Sicut Locutus Est from Bach’s Magnificat, and Gradual by Afro-Brazilian composer Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia.  This concert was unique because it came together as a result of a real collaboration between the chorus and the church, which serves a largely Spanish-speaking population from the nearby neighborhood, as well as English-speaking immigrants from various European nations.

The approximately 100 people in attendance rose to their feet in a standing ovation after the chorus performed the William Dawson arrangement of “Soon Ah Will be Done” as an encore. The fact that we included music of an Afro-Brazilian Classical composer in the program, was of particular interest to the priest, who stressed that in his Sunday announcements. The church also prepared an amazing reception. Many members of the church expressed interest in joining the chorus, but hesitation because of difficulty speaking English.
Founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute Chorus, Diane Sare.

Founder and Co-Director of the Schiller Institute Chorus, Diane Sare.

We look forward to future endeavors in collaboration with this historic church. Here is a story about the church, which, unlike many city churches, is packed with hundreds of people at its 11 am Spanish-language mass.  It has an earlier mass in English which is attended by 70-100 people as well.  It is related by design to a Byzantine church in Turkey, and has been home to many immigrants for over a century.

VA Community Chorus Concert: “Scientia sine ars nihil est”

A Concert Celebration of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Leesburg, Virginia

Close to 100 guests joined the Virginia Schiller Institute Community Chorus for a concert in Leesburg, Virginia on July 21st, to mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The event was not just a commemoration of that momentous achievement so many decades ago, but a celebration of and commitment to the next 50 years of human progress.

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The chorus opened the concert with an arrangement of Beethoven’s “Die Himmel rühmen des Ewigen Ehre,” (“The Heavens Praise the Glory of Eternity”), after which conductor Megan Beets welcomed the audience, and emphasized that what we celebrate is an event of universal importance—mankind’s first step onto another planetary body, and its establishment as an extraterrestrial species. Humanity’s upcoming return to the Moon with Project Artemis must be the beginning of a new era of our exploration and development of the solar system; one of optimism about our limitless potential for progress. In that context, she referenced NASA’s recently retired Kepler Telescope, which in its 10 years of service surveyed 530,506 stars, and found 2,662 exoplanets, all within our galaxy. Think of the practically infinite potential for humanity’s development given that there are 2 trillion galaxies in our universe! She concluded by telling those gathered that such progress in science must be accompanied by a return to a culture of beauty, which celebrates and advances the creative spark inherent in every individual.

Baritone Aaron Leathers.

Bass Aaron Leathers.

The first half of the concert began with a poem written and recited by Paul Gallagher, “The Sensitive Plant on the Moon,” followed by a number of solo offerings, including songs about the moon and the heavens: “Song to the Moon” by Dvořák, “Mondnacht” (Moonlit Night) by Robert Schumann, “My Lord, What a Mornin’” arr. by H.T. Burleigh; a movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, known as the “Moonlight Sonata”; other offerings included “Da, chas nastal” by Tsaikovsky with text by Schiller, and a number of songs which have a relationship to mankind’s exploration of space: “Goin’ Home” the melody of which is from Dvořák’s “New World Symphony,” which Neil Armstrong took to the Moon; the famous “Queen of the Night” aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute,” which has traveled 3.6 billion miles from Earth on the Voyager 1 and 2 Golden Records; and the first and fourth movements of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major (“Dissonance”) which opened Lyndon LaRouche’s famous 1988 presidential campaign broadcast, “The Woman on Mars.”

The second half of the concert featured the chorus and a small string ensemble performing Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers,” K.339. 

The audience was composed of a wide variety of people from all over the region—from singers and musicians to community members looking for a way mark the Apollo 11 anniversary, to friends and family of chorus members. As a whole, the audience was clearly moved by both chorus and soloists. Two children, probably 7 and 9 years old, seemed bored and restless when they first arrived, however, much to their mother’s amazement, as soon as the Queen of the Night aria began they sat up straight and were mesmerized by the performance. Many commented on the high level of the chorus, surprised that it is a community chorus, and expressed interest in joining. A local music teacher declared that she wants to recommend the chorus to her students. A regular member of the orchestra said that he was honored to play in the event.

Our three soprano soloists, Gabriela Ramirez-Carr, Stephanie Nelson, and Susan Bowen.

Our three soprano soloists, Gabriela Ramirez-Carr, Stephanie Nelson, and Susan Bowen.

Humanity’s return to human exploration and development of space means that we are embarking on a truly new era of civilization. If we want this to be successful, and to shed the anti-human characteristics of the geopolitical, colonial system, we absolutely must have a renaissance of beautiful and profound works of art. It is the mission of the Schiller Institute, and the Schiller Institute Community Choruses, to give as many people as possible access to such works of art as audiences, and even more so, as participants, by joining the chorus.

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Schiller Institute Honored at San Francisco Chinese Consulate

On June 27, 2019, the Schiller Institute was invited to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco to honor the life of the great American Statesman Lyndon LaRouche, and to celebrate the common aims of both nations and cultures.  

Everyone who attended the Open House in Honor of the Schiller Institute—as each of the three large screens proudly declared as you walked into the hall—now know the power and importance of exonerating Lyndon LaRouche. It was on the faces of everyone: a sense of joy, of optimism, of urgency, and a sense of responsibility towards the future because such a man, such an America, such a view of the world and of humanity, and such an organization exist, and at a moment when without a true America, without such a world view, mankind might not survive.

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The idea of an event was first initiated with the passing of LaRouche this past February 12. The consulate was informed soon after, and a meeting between SI reps and the Consul General was held the following week. After an hour plus long discussion with the CG and the Deputy CG ranging from LaRouche’s life and ideas to the strategic situation, the idea of an event between the SI and the Consulate was proposed.

So, on the very eve of the G20 summit (Putin and Trump would be meeting at 10 pm PT this same night), the Schiller Institute brought nearly 70 guests to an event hosted by the China Consulate. To reciprocate the generosity of the Consulate, the Schiller Institute brought Beethoven’s Op. 69 for a universal demonstration on the potential collaborative relationship between the U.S. and China with piano and cello, played at the lower tuning. Including speeches by CG Wang and SI rep Mr. Steger, the event set a new standard for collaboration around the power of LaRouche’s ideas.

macd-iThe event started with the Deputy Consul General introducing the Consul General Ambassador Wang Donghua, Schiller Institute rep. Michael Steger, and acknowledging special guests the DCG and a Consul from Vietnam, a member of the Indonesian Consulate, a member of the East-West Accord, and the President of the Russian American Congress, as well as two local Republican leaders.

The Consul General then gave a very hard hitting speech expressing China’s frustrations on the current trade talks before touching on the importance of the BRI. Given the CGs overt political tones, Mike was free to address the broader strategic aspects of the global dynamic, beginning with the introduction of the BRI by Xi, in consultation with Putin, during the chaotic coup in Ukraine, which only indicates the role of the BRI to end the risk of nuclear war today.

In summary, the importance of the G20, and the BRI as exemplary of a new global system, was on the minds of everyone on the eve of this critical summit. It is also the 35th anniversary of the SI, and the 40th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations, and the LaRouche view of the next 40 years has never been more important. There is a long history of the U.S. and China, from Columbus’ voyage of the Italian Renaissance (nb: Columbus is honored with massive stone statue on Telegraph Hill in S.F. looking east across the GG bridge to China), to Ben Franklin printing sections of Confucius Analects in the Gazette, to Lincoln’s appointment of Ambassador Burlingame to China, to Grant’s tour of China, and his identification then of China’s coming dominance of the global economy, to FDRs insistence that no foreign ships would enter Chinese ports after the defeat of Japan, and this true history of the U.S. and China makes the point that this is the real America, the LaRouche America, and it was this that the American people are calling for today, however darkly through the mirror.

China’s development is a modern miracle and the BRI is a precious contribution to the world that must be grasped now. FDR wanted to extend U.S. production to develop the world, but his legacy was nearly destroyed. It was Lyndon LaRouche who picked up this fight for global development after WWII, and today, it is China who is making this offer, this precious gift for a new system of collaboration, of sovereignty, of space exploration. As a Russian scientist once said, space exploration makes most clear the nature of economy, that money is worthless. Energy, water, infrastructure, science and culture are paramount for a new global system, on Earth and on the Moon. This is the BRI, it is a great gift to the world that must be adopted by the U.S., and it is the very essence of the true U.S. legacy of Lincoln and LaRouche.

It’s our job to organize the American people to insist that it is adopted, otherwise the corruption in Washington will crush any potential for a breakthrough. It is not only up to the leaders, but up to us to create a new culture of development.

There was strong applause for both speeches and the DCG wishfully referred to Mike as the representative of the American people, before introducing the music.

Before the music began, we quickly asked for collaborators on the music of China, and in the course of the evening we met a music teacher, one of the very first students of piano after the cultural revolution, who wants to work on Chinese music for four hands with My-Hoa! We also met a violinst/violist who plays for the SF Ballet, a friend of one of the Consuls, so we are conspiring for future collaborations, and intend to make more classical Chinese pieces available in western notation.

maapbMy-Hoa and Andres then played Mo Li Hua or Jasmine Flower on keyboard and cello, in honor of our guests, before a lively rendition (without repeats) of Op. 69. Uncertain, the audience gave a standing ovation after the first movement, but once aware, were absolutely silent after the second, allowing the adagio cantabile of the opening of the third movement to strike the harmonious chord of collaboration that Beethoven intended.

It was now a festive celebration, with food, discussion, and humorous delight often brought by the DCG, our leading contact. The SI brought a cross section of people, from our more eccentric contacts to a range of young people, blue collar Americans, many Facebook contacts within the Chinese community in S.F., a leading retired Pakistani journalist, and all, young and old, left beaming.

The Consul General, and his staff of twenty or so, mingled and talked with all of the guests for over an hour. There was a long discussion with the Indonesian representative on the political culture of the U.S. going back to the cultural revolution and the importance of classical culture, where nations adopt a profound mission. Both she and the Vietnamese DCG were interested in holding future events with the SI. The Russian associated contacts who came were struck by the optimism, became much more educated on who we are, and one is planning to sign for exoneration.

At the end, the Consul General said good-bye and said he was very touched. We had brought LaRouche’s America to the representatives of China, and they were profoundly overwhelmed with joy. When asked by his DCG if we should do this once every two years, he said, “Once a year, at least!”

To those of us in the SI, it comes as no surprise that Lyndon’s personality and vision have such an overwhelming effect, but we also know that it is not always so easy to convey. In this case, we feel triumphant in our attempt at such a historic moment, and intend to carry that spirit into our work, outreach, and follow-up in the critical days and weeks ahead.

 

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Songs of Freedom: African American Spirituals and Songs from the New World

The Schiller Boston Community Chorus, based in Quincy, MA, joined by guests from New York, Detroit, and San Francisco, just completed a weekend of performances in concerts in Providence, RI and Quincy, MA featuring songs from the New World and classical African American Spirituals. 

Friday: Songs of Freedom

Baritone Frank Mathis.

On Friday, June 14, 2019, the SI Boston Community Chorus teamed up with Stages of Freedom, who hosted the event, for an evening of history through music. Stages of Freedom is an organization dedicated to providing young African-Americans access to swimming programs, cultural programming, and to educate inner-city youth by providing access to museums and live performance. Historians and Stages of Freedom founders, Robb Dimmick and Ray Rickman planned this concert at Manning Chapel (Brown University) specifically because of the role the Brown family played as the second largest slave-owner family in Rhode Island’s history.

By the time the concert began, on Friday, June 14th at 5:30pm, there was a sold-out audience of over 200 people.

Mr. Rickman opened the event by challenging the audience to not think of this event as “entertainment, but to improve your soul and spirit.” This, preceded by a stirring rendition of “I’ve been buked” by Hall Johnson, performed by the chorus a capella, set the tone for the entire event.

The concert featured the Schiller Boston Community chorus and soloists singing Spirituals and was carefully and dramatically orchestrated to portray the horrors of the Rhode Island slave trade, through readings taken from The Notorious Triangle by Jay Coughtry.  The unique and necessary participation of the chorus dramatic performances of five Spirituals and a Mozart choral piece and also of soprano, Michelle Erin performance of Hall Johnson’s “Give me Jesus,” baritone, Frank Mathis, “Goin’ Home” and excerpts from Roland Hayes “Life of Christ,” and soprano, Annicia Smith’s moving rendition of “Deep River” was punctuated by the remarks of invited guest, Northeast coordinator of the Schiller Institute, Dennis Speed.  All pieces were skillfully and beautifully accompanied by pianist, My-Hoa Steger.  At the conclusion of the 90-minute concert, the chorus led the audience in singing “Lift every voice and sing,” and led the audience outside the beautiful chapel to a receiving line.

Schiller Institute Boston Community Chorus and friends.

Schiller Institute Boston Community Chorus and friends.

Many in the audience had never heard Spirituals sung in such an honest and dramatic way.  Some people were visibly shocked when Dennis Speed said in his speech, that African-American Spirituals are Classical music.  While this event was intended to shock people and create discomfort in facing the history of slavery, the role of the uplifting and never-enraged Spirituals played the crucial role in carrying out the mission of Friedrich Schiller and the Schiller Institute; it provoked the audience to be better people and to respond in an impassioned way.  There is tremendous potential coming out of this concert, including a professional recording which will be sent out to thousands of people and future collaboration.

Saturday: Songs from the New World 

On Saturday, June 15th, the Schiller Boston Chorus hosted a concert entitled “Songs of a New World,” to educate people on the collaboration between Czech composer, Antonín Dvořák and African-American baritone and composer, Harry Burleigh. This history is necessary to understand if Americans are going to make the break from geopolitics and divisiveness of the old paradigm and move into a new paradigm of win-win cooperation between the best of all cultures.  This concert program was well composed with many solo and choral African-American Spirituals, Lieder by Brahms, and some lesser-known but beautiful and well-received songs by, Antonín Dvořák including two Moravian duets, a song in Czech, and the well-loved Songs my Mother Taught Me, sung by soprano, Michelle Fuchs and accompanied by My-Hoa Steger. Also, a very special rendition of the Chinese folk song, “Jasmine Flower (Moli-hua)” sung by Donna Liao, and accompanied by treble voices and piano, brought the beauty of Chinese culture to a largely American audience.  At certain points in the program, quotes by Dvořák, Burleigh, and Frederick Douglass, were read, to help the audience gain further insight into the beginnings of this American Renaissance and also why it was deliberately derailed into Jazz and the Roaring 20s culture, etc.  For more on this history, see The African-American Spiritual and the Resurrection of Classical Art:  Not Force, But Beauty, Will Change America.

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Soprano Annicia Smith singing “Deep River.”

There were a few incredible responses from the audience which characterize a more general hunger for beautiful culture that our choruses are finding around the country, particularly right now. This audience, made up entirely of the local community, including family and friends of chorus members, local business owners, and some children, gained their concentration and settled down during the opening piece, the beautiful prayer-like “Laudate Dominum” from Mozart’s Solemn Vespers. 

At the conclusion of the concert, there were many responses by audience members and chorus members alike.  Many people could not believe that we are a community chorus and that we do not hold auditions.  This led to many good discussions about the important role of the Verdi tuning and bel canto vocal training to train amateur voices.  One chorus member noticed that during one particular dramatically soft and beautiful choral phrase in a spiritual, many members of the audience simultaneously sat back in their seats and closed their eyes, as if to be relieved by the music. Many expressed how important it is to have this beauty here in this community and how every single arrangement was beautiful. 

Another important note was the affect of the historical excerpts and quotes, as a few members of the audience wanted to discuss the role of slavery in the United States and more of the history of Burleigh and Dvorak.  Following the concert, there was a wonderful food reception attended by audience and performers alike. 

This full weekend of two beautiful concerts reinforced our firm commitment to bringing high-level culture to all peoples and that if we can avoid the dangers of war, the United States can be ready to join the new paradigm.

Jen Pearl, Conductor, Schiller Boston Community Chorus  Follow the Boston chorus on Facebook.

 


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