Fine Literary Works in Spring, 1999, Viet News U.S.A.
in the Evening of
Musician Le Uyen Phuong
In the closing days of 1998, a spectacular musical gala was held at the prestigious Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Although I am only an ordinary music fan, I believe this event was one of the finest musical productions not only of 1998, but also of the years that marked the growth of musical and arts performing abroad.
This great event was made possible by the meticulous arrangement of director Steven Cooper and Dr. Larry M. Timm. On-stage appearances were made by some of the most recognizable figures in the movie industry, such as Debbie Reynolds, who has starred in over 30 movies, and appeared in two Broadway shows and numerous television productions, along with John Moschitta, Jr. who set the world record for fast talking, 586 words per minute. The musical program was orchestrated by three of the most sought-after conductors in Hollywood: Bill Conti, George Thatcher, and Peter Boyer. These Oscar Award winning composer/conductors appeared on-stage one by one to conduct a symphony orchestra of 60 top musicians. They performed along with the legendary soprano voices of Anne Marie Ketchum, Kerry Walsh, and Mel Kubik, as well as the harmonious voices of the Pasadena Boys Choir.
We must also mention the spectacular and highly enthusiastic performance of the Irish band Gaelic Storm, which performed magnificently in the movie "Titanic"; as well as that of the Beach Boys Family & Friends, who made their debut with songs popularized by the original Beach Boys throughout the decades.
A most lavish program, the musical gala at the Shrine Auditorium attracted an audience of 6,000 people from around the world. With little effort, one could easily imagine how costly the program was.
The most remarkable quality of the show lay in the presentation of its creator's abilities. With respect to musical attributes, it was an event that utilized the most that Hollywood has to offer to profoundly reveal the skill of its creator: Poet Supreme Master Ching Hai.
"The Prince," a poem by Supreme Master Ching Hai, was set to music by composer/conductor Maria Newman, daughter of nine- time Oscar Award winning composer/conductor Alfred Newman, and interpreted through the soprano voice of Anne Marie Ketchum. Then "Love Melody IV," another poem by Supreme Master Ching Hai, arranged for music by Peter Boyer, was sung by Kerry Walsh, creating a mysterious atmosphere that seemed to go beyond the limits of time. These songs expressed the harmonious union of different sentiments within a common musical feeling. The audience's awareness was concentrated on the music, which seemed to embrace everything in its arms.
Then came "The Peace Seeker," which was subdivided into five separate sections: "Winter Afternoon," "Cannot Do A Thing With My Heart," "He Couldn't Buy," "Farewell Song," and "Like A Bird," musical settings of poems by Supreme Master Ching Hai by the Oscar Award winning composer/conductor Fred Karlin. This piece was performed by Mel Kubik, accompanied by Nicole Campbell, Stevie Mercer and the Pasadena Boys Choir with background music provided by a 60-piece symphony orchestra conducted by Peter Boyer. This was a brief musical depiction of Supreme Master Ching Hai's historic achievements in Her journey to seek perfect enlightenment. Fred Karlin is indeed a highly talented composer with a profound understanding of the poetic and artistic creations of Supreme Master Ching Hai. One could feel the transformations, the upheavals, and the sudden change in consciousness of the spiritual practitioner in an ultimate and final meeting, not only with the light of heaven, but with the freedom of a bird that went beyond all boundaries. Again, music embraced all in its loving arms.
The concert, which focused the energies of many musical talents, was indeed one that gathered the best and most successful that Hollywood could offer in the fields of music and film. They included outstanding musical and movie performers of recent decades, such as Academy Award winning composer/conductor Bill Conti, author of "For Your Eyes Only," which reached record sales of eight million copies; Fred Karlin, author of "For All We Know," sung by the Carpenters, for which he won an Oscar for Best Song; Peter Boyer, composer of the score for the film "Covenant"; and George Thatcher, author of "Send Me a Lover," recorded by Celine Dione and Tayler Dayne, which became a top hit single in Billboard Magazine and Radio and Record. In addition, participants included Debbie Reynolds, John Moschitta, Jr., Maria Newman, Gaelic Storm, Kerry Walsh, Mel Kubik, Anne Marie Ketchum, Jerome Smith, Nicole Campbell, Steven Cooper, Dr. Larry M. Timm, the Pasadena Boys Choir, and especially, Poet Supreme Master Ching Hai, who has become popular through her highly creative poems, paintings, music, clothing designs and charitable activities.
The proceeds of this highly successful and internationally acclaimed fund raising gala were given to The Starlight Children's Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Their representatives received checks totaling $250,000 from the hand of Poet Supreme Master Ching Hai to help children with terminal diseases and cancer around the world.
This most perfectly arranged and flawless musical gala was professionally carried out on a grand scale. Its sets were constructed through the experiences and skill of Hollywood stage decorators and coordinators. The construction of the program sets could not have been made possible without the meticulous application of Hollywood time-honored stage-building formulas. Although not the highlight of the event, they were nonetheless easily and flawlessly created by well- equipped Hollywood professionals.
The performance was excellent. To my knowledge, it was the first time that messages from a spiritual Master were conveyed through the music of a Hollywood symphony orchestra, being successfully rendered by Hollywood sound legends to spread their creator's noble ideals to the public, which was indeed an extraordinary act. To those who are familiar with Hollywood's tricks of the trade, this was definitely a miracle.
Moreover, it was the first time I had ever seen an Au Lacese Master with a petite physical appearance dressed in a white evening gown singing Her own song in front of a great symphony orchestra on a grand stage frequented by Hollywood celebrities. This image was something unique and mysterious, and created a profound, unforgettable and thoughtful impression in the audience. It was the first time that I and the other 6,000 audience members had had an opportunity to see a short video lecture about the Supreme Master's loving compassion and devoted help to disaster victims. Despite its brief duration of less than five minutes, the time used for presenting the two checks totaling $250,000 to children's charities truly conveyed to the audience the care and sharing, full of human love and compassion, that is essential for people during times of disaster and disability in our world. It was the first time that an event of such great magnitude, even by Hollywood standards, was carried out by a spiritual organization, namely, the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, to introduce and help execute its charitable deeds.
In short, to me this was a unique phenomenon of 1998, not only in the field of the arts, but also in conveying a specific spiritual meaning. It is certain that people will talk more about this event, not so much of its level of quality, but rather its incredible planning and organization. With all the abilities and intelligence employed, the performance seemed miraculous. It is certain that people will speculate more about these things, however, since the event has already taken place, nothing can be done to change it. The four hour concert on the stage of the Shrine Auditorium, with its bright lights, reverberating sounds and colorful settings, was recorded on tape, which may be used as a reference for those who are inquisitive about that wonderful musical evening.
I pray that indeed there will be One World... of Peace Through Music, and also a peaceful world through people's generosity, understanding, compassion, and sharing.
The Peace Seeker
Lyrics: by Supreme
Master Ching Hai
Like A Bird
Lyrics: Supreme Master
Master Ching Hai
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