Ninth Annual Interfaith Concert
"Songs of Hope"

September 15, 2019
The Sheldon Concert Hall

PROGRAM


PRESENTATION OF COLORS

St. Louis Fire Department Color Guard


The Star-Spangled Banner

Jeremy Denis, vocalist


WELCOME

Laura Arnold, Chair, Arts & Faith St. Louis


CONCERT PERFORMANCES

Christine Brewer, soprano

Ensembles of many faiths

Interfaith Youth Chorus

Nartana Premachandra, storyteller


CLOSING

God Bless America


AFTER THE CONCERT

All were invited outside in front of The Sheldon on Washington Blvd. to meet the performers, their fellow audience members and to continue their interfaith journey by participating in creating the #HopeMural



Overview Video: http://bit.ly/2kXRbLM

Full Concert Video: http://bit.ly/2kTvyMt


Click here to edit text

          



          PRESENTATION OF COLORS

          St. Louis Fire Department Color Guard


          The Star-Spangled Banner

          Jeremy Denis, vocalist


Welcome from Arts & Faith St. Louis

Good afternoon. I am Laura Arnold, Chair of Arts & Faith St. Louis and I’m pleased to welcome you to the Ninth Annual Interfaith Concert—Songs of Hope.


We live in a time when we see the violence, poverty and injustice of our world through so many different mediums and hurtful words that are too easily spoken and transmitted. It can be hard to bear the weight of all that is around us. In spite of that weight, Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminds us that “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Today, we look to that light with “Songs of Hope.”

Through our concert today, and the eight that have preceded it, we experience the universal language of music. A language that illuminates our shared values as communities of faith, our love for its beauty and emotional resonance, and our interconnectedness as human beings. That is the mission of Arts & Faith St. Louis: to harness the unique power of the arts to bring people together, to bridge divides through shared 

                                                                                                           experiences and to inspire thoughtful discussion among diverse 

                                                                                                           audiences.


Carolyn Losos Past Chair, Arts & Fair St. Louis



This year we want to recognize Carolyn Losos for her dedicated, thoughtful and inspiring leadership as Chair of Arts & Faith St. Louis. The success Arts & Faith St. Louis is a testament to Carolyn’s ability to bring people together in common purpose and her commitment to excellence in all that she does. 


We are grateful for her leadership and her friendship. Thankfully, while Carolyn is stepping down as Chair of Arts & Faith, she will continue to lend her wisdom to our organization as a member of the Steering Committee.



Thank you for joining us today. We are grateful for your vital support. May this music of many faiths, sung with many voices (including your own), remind us of our common values and our shared humanity. May we be lifted up in hope for what the future brings. As one of my favorite hymns reminds us, we must “live into hope.”

At the conclusion of the concert, we invite you to join us in the front of the Sheldon to share what gives you hope on our #HopeMural. This mural will travel to sites around the city so that our expressions of hope may be shared with others.


Laura Arnold | Chair, Arts & Faith St. Louis

Storytelling in the Concert

Lisa Overholser | MU Extension Division Storytelling Festival


Arts & Faith St. Louis has added the spoken word to this year’s concert with the inclusion of storyteller Nartana Premachandra, chosen in collaboration with the University of Missouri Extension’s St. Louis Storytelling Festival that recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its annual festival. For our project, storytellers from the St. Louis area were invited to submit personal stories on the theme of “hope” and to present their stories at a Story Lounge, the monthly storytelling event in Grand Center organized by the St. Louis Storytelling Festival. We thank Dr. Lisa Overholser, Director of the Festival, for devoting two Story Lounge events to our theme, and for her work in recruiting storytellers and working with us to choose one for today’s concert.


Nartana Premachandra is an author, classical Indian dancer and a storyteller. She is also President of Dances of India, one of the oldest classical Indian dance companies in the US, now in its 42nd season. Her work has recently appeared in the St. Louis Anthology. She has also given talks on history, religion, and art, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, Ethical Society and other locations in the St. Louis region. Please visit her at: NartanaPremachandra.com.



Three Prayers – Part 1

Music by Stephanie Berg, text from Psalm 30


Christine Brewer, soprano; Stephanie Berg, clarinet; Alla Voskoboynikova, piano


“Three Prayers” by Stephanie Berg was commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony’s clarinetist Diana Haskell and was premiered at Powell Symphony Hall in March 2019. The first movement of “Three Prayers” beautifully depicts the biblical text of Psalm 30. Berg says of the piece, “This music comes from my most reverent side – the side that appreciates the power of quiet things that seem small but are actually quite significant. It’s about honoring the text with as much care and love as I can muster.”



All his faithful people!

Give him thanks.

Remember what the Holy One has done

And give him thanks!

His anger lasts only a moment

His goodness for a lifetime.

Tears may flow in the night.

Tears, tears, but joy –

Joy comes in the morning!

You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel


Music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Christine Brewer, soprano; Alla Voskoboynikova, piano


When you walk through a storm 
Hold your head up high 
And don't be afraid of the dark. 
At the end of the storm 
There's a golden sky 
And the sweet silver song of the lark.

Walk on, through the wind. 
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown. 
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart 
And you'll never walk alone, 
You'll never walk alone.


It Is Well with My Soul


Music by John P. Bliss, arr. John Ness Beck; text by Horatio G. Spafford

The Second Presbyterian Adult Church Choir, Andrew Peters, Director     

         

The words of this anthem were written following horrific tragedy for American lawyer Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) after his wife and four daughters were on a ship which sank. While his wife survived, his four daughters did not, and he wrote these powerful words of comfort while he was on a different ship at the same spot where the accident occurred. The music was written by American composer, conductor, hymn writer and Gospel singer John P. Bliss. This arrangement was written by the American musician John Ness Beck in 1980. – Andrew Peters





When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll –

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.


It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin – O the joy of this glorious thought –

My sin, not in part, but the whole

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O my soul!

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll:

The trumpet shall sound, and the Lord shall descend,

"Even so" – it is well with my soul!

It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul.


Bani Adam (Sons of Adam)


Poem by Saadi Shirazi

Iranian Cultural Ensemble, Dr. Bahar Bastani, Director


“Bani Adam,” or Sons of Adam, was written by 13th century Iranian poet Saadi Shirazi and is inscribed on a large hand-made rug which hangs on the wall of a meeting room in the United Nations in New York. Bani Adam is one of two short poems that was written in response to an Arab king who came to Saadi seeking advice to escape the grip of a powerful enemy. The advice he received was to treat his people with justice if he wishes to live at peace.







In Persian:

بنی آدم اعضای یک پیکرند
که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند
چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضو ها را نماند قرار
تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی


Translation:

Human beings are members of a whole,

In creation of one essence and one soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

There Is Goodness


Music and text by Daniel DuMaine

North City Deanery Choir, Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis; Daniel DuMaine, Director


“There is Goodness” is about living a life of faithful service to the Lord and believing in his blessings and promises that He is truly in control. – Daniel DuMaine


There is goodness, truly goodness when you serve the Lord.

I’ll be shoutin’ when I get there, in the arms of the Lord.

No more weepin’, no more cryin’, I’ll be smilin’ when I see ma Lord.


I’ll be shoutin’ Hallelujah, in the arms of the Lord.

Feelin’ God all over me, feel his love and his grace,

Spirit’s here all over me, I can’t wait to see his face.


Feelin’ God all over me everyday,

When I get to heaven hear the Angels say

I will, I will serve the Lord.

Yes I will, I’ll serve the Lord.

I will, I will serve the Lord.

Hallelujah!

I will, I will serve the Lord.

Yes I will, I’ll serve the Lord.

There are blessings when you come to serve the Lord.

Hallelujah!

There are blessings when you come to serve the Lord.


I will serve the Lord; yes, I will serve the Lord.

Will you serve the Lord, Hallelujah!

I will serve the Lord; yes, I will serve the Lord.

There are blessings when you come to serve the Lord.

Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

There are blessings when you come to serve the Lord.

There is goodness, truly goodness

When you serve the Lord,

Serve the Lord.


The Universal Vessel: A Story of Hope


Story by Nartana Premachandra, author and president of Dances of India


“The Universal Vessel: A Story of Hope” describes the magic that can occur when individuals from completely different faith traditions connect with one another in the alchemical world of art.


Gesher


Music by Yosef Goldman

Rob Aronson, guitar and vocal; Julie Aronson, vocal; Chris Rowton, piano; Jordan Mandel, cello; Brian Tripi, percussion


Sometimes our perception of the world can seem narrow and life can be difficult when presented with hardships. Knowing that God is looking over us can help provide the strength and courage that we need to overcome these challenges. – Rob Aronson


In Hebrew:

Kol ha’olam kulo

Gesher tzar me’od

Kol ha’olam hu Gesher tzar me’od

Veha’ikar lo l’fached k’lal

Translation:

As I walk along this very narrow bridge

I will not be afraid knowing you are with me

As I walk along this very narrow bridge

I will not fear knowing you are near


Hundred Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva


Fo Guang Shan Monastery, Venerable Jue Huang, Director


Vajrasattva is a bodhisattva in the Mahayana, Vajrayana Buddhist traditions that symbolizes primordial purity. The Vajrasattva mantra is a powerful purification prayer that is regarded to have the ability to cleanse the mind's defilements, bring peace, and cause an enlightened state.










Oṃ (1)
Vajrasattva (5) samayam (8)anupālaya (13) 
Vajrasattva (17) tvenopatiṣṭha (22) 
Dṛḍho me bhava (27) 
Sutoṣyo me bhava (33) 
Supoṣyo me bhava (39) 
Anurakto me bhava (46) 
Sarva siddhiṃ (50) me prayaccha (54) 
Sarvakarmasu (59) ca me (61)
cittam śriyaḥ kuru hūṃ (68) 
Hā hā hā hā hoḥ (73)

Bhagavan (76)
sarva (78) Tathāgata (82) Vajra (84) mā me muñca (88) 

Vajrī bhava (92) mahāsamaya (97) sattva āḥ (100)”


Translation:

O Vajrasattva honour the agreement!
Reveal yourself as the vajra-being!
Be steadfast for me!
Be very pleased for me!
Be fully nourishing for me!
Be passionate for me!
Grant me all success and attainment!
And in all actions make my mind more lucid!
hūṃ
ha ha ha ha hoḥ

O Blessed One, vajra of all those in that state, don't abandon me!
O being of the great contract be a vajra-bearer!
āḥ


I Dream a World


Music by David L. Brunner; text by Langston Hughes

Rising Generation Youth Chorus, Michael Hurst, Director

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints look forward to the day when strife and oppression will cease, and all people will live in harmony in God’s kingdom.  This piece, with words by Langston Hughes, expresses our solidarity with all who dream of a world where “Joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind.”








I dream a world where man No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth And peace its paths adorn.
I dream a world where all will know sweet freedom's way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul Nor avarice blights our day.
A world I dream where black or white, Whatever race you be,
Will share the bounties of the earth And every man is free.
I dream a world where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl, Attends the needs of all mankind.
Of such I dream my world!

I Love You/What a Wonderful World


Words and music by Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, George David Weiss and Bob Thiele; arranged by Craig Hella Johnson

Interfaith Youth Chorus, Maria Ellis, Director


Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to manifest. We learn at a very early age how to HOPE good things will happen to us. As children, we HOPE Santa Claus does not forget us and as adults we HOPE for more things like money, good jobs and good health. I think it is safe to say we will HOPE for the rest of our lives. When given the theme of Hope – I started to think of all the things I wanted to share with the audience. The first emotion I wanted to evoke was LOVE. You see, it’s easy to HOPE for a Wonderful World when someone tells you, I love you! So, I chose “I Love You/What a Wonderful World” as a HOPE that one day we can all exist together without race, religion and other factors separating us. – Maria Ellis


We can be together now and forever; I love you, I love you.

And when I’m prayin’, I hear him sayin’ “I love you, I love you.”

People all over the world, they’re opening up, they’re comin’ around and they’re sayin’ I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…


I see skies of blue and clouds of white, bright, blessed day and dark, sacred night; and I think to myself, “What a wonderful world.”

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of the people going by.

I see friends shaking hands, saying, “How do you do?”

They’re really saying, “I love you.”


People all over the world, they’re openin’ up, they’re comin’ around and they’re sayin’ I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

We can be together now and forever; I love you, I love you. We can be together now and forever, I love you.


I hear babies cry, I watch them grow; they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself, What a wonderful world, wonderful world, what a wonderful world, what a wonderful world.

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…

Give Us Hope

Music by Jim Papoulis; arranged by Francisco J. Nunez

Interfaith Youth Chorus, Maria Ellis, Director


Give Us Hope’ is from the project Sounds of a Better World which focuses on children. Children are our future and they are calling to the adults to lead them into a better tomorrow. All of us want better tomorrows… this song shows us the way. 

                                                                              – Maria Ellis


Listen to the sound of my voice. Can you feel the beat of my heart? Listen to the questions I have. Listen to me.
It’s all very simple to see what we need.
Give us hope, my voice is calling.
Can you see? Look in my eyes.
Can you feel? My hand is reaching. Give us hope and we’ll show you the way.



Listen to the sound of my voice. Can you feel the beat of my heart? Listen to the questions I have. Listen to me.

We are the future, help us believe.
Give us hope, my voice is calling.
Can you see? Look in my eyes.
Can you feel? My hand is reaching. Give us hope and we’ll show you the way.

Take my hand, now look in my eyes. Tell me what you see.
Give us hope, my voice is calling.
Can you see? Look in my eyes.
Can you feel? My hand is reaching. Give us hope and we’ll show you the way.

Give us hope, my voice is calling.
Can you see? Look in my eyes.
Can you feel? My hand is reaching. Give us hope and we’ll show you the way, show you the way, show you the way, show you the way.


Ain’t No Mountain High Enough


Music by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell; arranged by Robert T. Gibson

Interfaith Youth Chorus, Maria Ellis, Director


“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was made famous by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. While originally written to be a song for a couple, the message can be a song of HOPE for all people. It says that no matter where you are in the world - I HOPE you know I will be there for you. A culmination of love and hope for us all! There is section of this song that we are going to ask the audience to sing with us- for Nothing can keep us from helping and loving each other through our HOPE! – Maria Ellis




Now if you need me, call me

No matter where you are,

No matter how far

Don’t worry baby.

Just call out my name,

I’ll be there in a hurry

You don’t have to worry

Remember the day I set you free,

I told you you could always count on me

From that day on, I made a vow

I’ll be there when you want me,

Someway somehow.

Chorus:

Cuz baby there ain’t no mountain high enough,

Ain’t no valley low enough,

Ain’t no river wide enough

To keep me from getting to you babe.

No wind, no rain, Oo stop. Oh baby.

‘Cuz you are my goal –

If you’re ever in trouble,

I’ll be there on the double.

Just sing to me baby.


God Bless America


by Irving Berlin


God bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam.

God bless America, my home sweet home

God bless America, my home sweet home.

#HopeMural

Beth Damsgaard-Rodriquez | Interfaith Quest


What gives you HOPE?

Immediately after today’s concert, audience members were invited to answer the question “What gives you HOPE?” and to write their brief answer on the #HopeMural, located just outside The Sheldon on Washington Boulevard. The mural, created by Ambassadors of Hope, who are local high school and college aged students representing many faiths under the direction of Beth Damsgaard-Rodriguez, is a collaboration between Arts & Faith St. Louis and Interfaith Quest. The #HopeMural has already been present at two previous interfaith gatherings, the Interfaith Youth Iftar in May and the West County Interfaith Alliance’s Peace Picnic in July. Following this event, the #HopeMural will be present at Interfaith Partnership’s Annual Dinner and Interfaith Thanksgiving at Webster Groves Christian Church.


As part of today's theme, throughout the concert "Quotes of Hope" were posted high on the wall above and behind the performers. 


Quotes of Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” 

-- Romans 15:13


“Do not lose heart nor fall into despair! You shall triumph if you are believers.”

-- Quran 3:139


“Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But when we hope for something that we do not see, we wait patiently for it.”

-- Romans 8:24


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” 

 -- Albert Einstein


“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

-- Isaiah 40:31


“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need do is keep on walking.”

-- Buddha


“Know ye that ye are in the hands of God?”

-- Mormon 5:23


“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” 

 -- Nelson Mandela


“God shall be my hope, my stay, my guide and lantern to my feet.”

-- Shakespeare: Henry VI


“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”

-- Desmond Tutu


“Hope is the one thing that is stronger than fear.” 

-- Buddha


“For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” 

 -- Jeremiah 29:11


“May you be sowers of hope, builders of bridges and agents of dialogue and harmony.” 

Pope Francis


“Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.” 

 -- Elie Wiesel


“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” 

William Faulkner


“Where there is no hope, it is incumbent on us to invent it.” 

-- Albert Camus


“If we laugh and sing a little as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier. I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.”

Sojourner Truth


“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

Thomas Merton


“Hope is a waking dream.” 

Aristotle


“True hope is swift and flies with swallow’s wings.”

Shakespeare: Richard III


“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” 

Christopher Reeve


“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope” 

Martin Luther


Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Helen Keller


“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

-- Martin Luther King Jr.


“Hope is the thing with feathers – that perches in the soul – And sings the tune without the words – and never stops – at all.” 

 -- Emily Dickenson