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The Next Phase of the Manhattan Chorus

by Diane Sare
July 2016

Diane Sare.

During the Manhattan Dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche on April 23, 2016, a military veteran from Connecticut asked the following question:

“Good afternoon, Mr. LaRouche. It’s Patrick from Greenwich, Connecticut. The 28 pages, to me, is all about the military giving their ultimate, and putting their lives on the line. This is going to be very short: Let’s get the 28 pages to the public, and let’s bring back our soldiers, and let’s honor them. Period.”

LaRouche: “We need to do something a little stronger: We have to set up some kind of memorial, a living memorial for people who died in that case. That would do something. Because the United States so far has failed to do anything about that—a few handfuls of people have been concerned with that. But we have to get the humiliation expressed by the people as a whole, for their failure to defend life, human life, when that life was needed.”

‘For Us, the Living’

April 24—As Lyndon LaRouche has stressed repeatedly, after the death of the great American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the British empire and the Wall Street-controlled Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a massive operation to eradicate the policies, the principles and even the memory of the Roosevelt Presidency. At the same time, they set out to destroy the principle of creativity in American politics. Americans were terrorized and told to stop thinking independently, to “go along to get along.”

On September 11, 2001, with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the terrorizing of the American people was taken to the most extreme level imaginable. This was a “Reichstag Fire,” needed to consolidate the enslavement of the American people, and secure their passivity in the face of the looming threat of global thermonuclear war. This attack was carried out by the British empire, with the direct complicity of Saudi Arabia and the FBI, and the truth about those responsible has been covered up to this day.

As LaRouche stated in his remarks to the April 23 Manhattan meeting, quoted above, nothing has been done by the people of the United States to address their failure to defend those lives, or to defend the lives of countless others who have died as a result of that failure. Fifteen years after this travesty, after facing the shame of our own culpability in the current state of affairs, it is “for us, the living,” as President Lincoln once said, to ensure that these people have not died in vain.

The Schiller Institute New York City Community Chorus, joined by choruses from Boston, New Jersey, and Virginia, intends to address this failure with a performance of Mozart’s Requiem on the fifteenth anniversary of those attacks, this coming September. We will shine a beacon of truth and hope, through the genius of Mozart—to enkindle the beauty and courage which Americans today so sorely need.

Post-9/11 ‘Culture’

During this past week, a freight train traveled the length of Eurasia, more than 7,100 miles, from Wuhan, China to Lyon, France. It made the trip in 16 days, averaging 185 miles per hour over some of the most difficult terrain in the world. With this trip, China and her partners have opened up a vital corridor of the New Silk Road, and they have taken a step toward lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty, while simultaneously creating links of peace and economic cooperation across central Asia. Yet, almost no Americans know about this historic breakthrough.

During this same week, the rock star Prince died. Within hours every “newspaper” and media outlet in the United States was filled with front page sensational stories of his death. Twitter, Instagram, and other social media were overloaded with details, rumors, and conspiracy theories. Every American knew about this “news.”

But at the same time, suicides in America are now at a thirty-year high. More and more Americans simply see no purpose in continuing, no compelling reason to continue to exist. A mistaken observer might be led to the conclusion that we are in the midst of a psychotic cultural breakdown. The truth, however, is different. What has been created since 9/11 is a Wall Street culture, erected on the shoulders of Wall Street’s thievery, speculative practices, and destruction of the physical economy. It is also an FBI culture, a culture within which fear and paranoia are deliberately spread and imposed on the American People.

A Lesson from the Past
Library of Congress/George Grantham Bain Collection
In 1867, Irish-American bank director Patrick S. Gilmore became convinced while on a trip to New York, that he should organize a National Peace Jubilee as a means to unify the nation and heal the wounds of the U.S. Civil War.

Over 600,000 Americans were killed in America’s Civil War from 1861 to 1865. A significant portion of the young male population was simply wiped out, and no section of the country was left untouched by the horror. Yet, in 1867, while visiting Manhattan, the Irish-American band director, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore, became convinced that he should organize a National Peace Jubilee as a means to unify the nation, to heal the wounds of war. The President of the United States, every Member of Congress, and all foreign dignitaries would be invited to attend. This should be held in a coliseum seating 50,000, in order to hold a chorus of 10,000 and an orchestra of 1,000, as well as 20,000 school children and their parents who would attend this remarkable event. Gilmore estimated that it would take about two years to prepare such a festival and, ultimately, he set June 15-17, 1869 as the date for the first National Peace Jubilee.

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A subsequent Peace Jubilee in Boston in 1872 shown here, took place after the first one, in 1869.

In March of 1869, the first circular went out by mail to choral societies and villages all over the nation soliciting their participation. It read in part, “it is desirable that where no choral societies exist, they should immediately be formed, to consist of not less than sixteen voices. As soon as such organizations are reported to us, with the number of singers upon each part, and a full list of officers, the music will be sent, bound in complete order, free of charge, and societies will be allowed to retain the same at the close of the Festival. It will be seen that in this way each society will obtain a nucleus of a library of music for choral practice without expense, and collections of choruses from the best oratorios of the great masters. In view of future similar festivals, and the improvement of the musical taste of the public generally, the awakening of a greater interest in art, and the attainment of a higher standard in sacred music, these advantages cannot be too highly estimated.”

Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa

The response was overwhelming. In Boston alone, four thousand people signed up to participate in classes to learn the repertoire, and the hall for the first rehearsal was too small to hold the singers who showed up. Ultimately, over one hundred choral societies joined in the effort, forming a chorus of 10,900 singers! The renowned Scottish-born soprano Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa led the training of the choruses, and sang as the leading soloist at the event. She had an extraordinary range, and such placement that her voice carried effortlessly to every corner of the vast coliseum. The choral repertoire included several choruses each from Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, as well as Rossini’s Stabat Mater.

Needles to say, the Jubilee was a rousing and inspiring success in every intended way. President Ulysses S. Grant addressed the gathering on the second day and was greeted with overflowing enthusiasm. A verse was added to the national anthem, appropriate to the occasion and its intent: the unity of the United States of America:

Not as North, nor as South, in the future
she’ll stand, But as brothers united throughout
this broad land. And the Star Spangled Banner
forever shall wave O’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave.

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Library of Congress
View of the great coliseum for the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival, 1872.

Seven years later, at the 1876 Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia, a chorus of 1,000 voices performed George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from the Messiah. Where did this chorus come from? Was this music just an ornament on a display of industrial and scientific prowess from a young republic? Immediately following this performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” President Ulysses Grant and Dom Pedro, the Emperor of Brazil (the first foreign head of state to visit the United States) walked over to start the giant Corliss Engine, which was the power generator for the entire exposition.

The Centennial Exposition of 1876 grew directly out of the impact of the earlier Jubilee, but the origins of both go back even earlier. Aided by the influx of continental European and Irish immigrants, choral music, with a special emphasis on Italian bel canto placement, had come to dominate American culture by the Nineteenth Century. The largest and best known of these choral groups was the Handel and Haydn Society, which had been founded in 1815 and received a great boost in the 1850s when Germania, an orchestra of German immigrants, joined with them, dramatically raising the level of what they could accomplish. The Handel and Haydn Society chorus grew to 500 singers, and members of the Germania group became some of their finest directors.

Returning to our Mission

Today, Lyndon LaRouche has singled out Manhattan, the city of Alexander Hamilton, as the point of origin for a new American Renaissance, a renaissance which will pull our presently impoverished and stupefied population out of the legendary “Slough of Despond,” into the potentials of a Science Century, as we collaborate with China and Russia in transforming the world for the benefit of all mankind.

The planned performance of Mozart’s Requiem on and around September 11, 2016, the fifteenth anniversary of the murderous attack on our Republic, is designed to do the same. The process of building the chorus as we approach that date is at least as important as the performance itself. It is clear that if we can succeed in creating the 1,500 person chorus that Mr. LaRouche called for about a year ago, we will create the conditions in which a great evil, namely the events of September 11, 2001, can be looked back upon as the moment that we changed our ways, and decided to return to the true mission of our Republic—to uphold the dignity and sanctity of human life, as above and apart from mere beasts. It is this quality of immortality that a dying Mozart captured in the sublime power of his Requiem, and in this way, those people who gave the “ultimate” will have been able to also contribute an enduring good for the future of this nation and all mankind.