Monday, May 14, 2007

Love and Gratitude at the Heart of Tzu Chi Benefit Concert

Saturday night, Roger Feria Jr. and The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Calgary Chapter (Tzu Chi) led by Commissioner Chuan-Chih Wu held a benefit concert for the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. One Sunday a month, the group has sponsored a buy-cook-serve dinner. Throughout the ten years of their service, along with the food and energy they bring, they have touched the hearts of clients and staff with joy and warm, loving smiles.

This is the first time the Tzu Chi has created a Benefit Concert on behalf of the Drop-In. I was confident this event would be a reflection of the people involved and the deep love they feel for all humankind.

What an amazing evening transpired from their efforts! It was an evening filled with music from the hearts of superb musicians. An with many gifts that reflected each performers love of humankind and the music that connects us.

There were eight performers, including one performer, John Harris, who is the Drop-In's resident classical guitarist. The 300+ people who attended were treated to an evening of Mozart, Bach and inspired jazz renditions of pieces such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Piano, flute, saxophone and Ghuzeng (ancient Chinese Zither) as well as a remarkable soprano – each performer offered their unique talent as they wove together a magical evening of classical and jazz favourites.

To open the evening, 12 members of the Tzu Chi Foundation gave a sign-language performance of two pieces of music, one in English, one in Chinese, that focused on two universal themes: Love and Gratitude. The lyrics of the first piece, The Spirit of Great Love, are a reflection of what Tzu Chi believe is possible for all human kind.

The Spirit of Great Love

There is no one in the world that I don’t love
There is no one in the world that I don’t trust
There is no one in the world that I can’t forgive
All the troubles, pain, and worries, just let go.

There is no one in the world that I don’t love
There is no one in the world that I don’t trust
There is no one in the world that I can’t forgive
May this great love fill the world through all of time.

In Gratitude, the 12 members of the cast beautifully reflected the deep and profound relevance of gratitude in Tzu Chi.


The gentle breeze slowly passes through the botanical garden
Bringing warmth to the flowers and trees
The Still-Thought Abode resounds prayers of gratitude.

Tzu-Chi is a world full of gratitude
Where everyone feels grateful for everything
Gratitude purifies the Tzu-Chi world
Where gratefulness is presented in all places at all times
May blessings be with the Still-thought Abode
Where foundation for kindness spreads throughout the world
Delighted to see harmony within the society
The world resounds prayers of gratitude.

In 'ordinary' communication, we use words to tell our stories and communicate ideas. Often, we don't realize the relevance and importance of the 93% of our communication that is non-verbal. In their performance, the Tzu Chi performers demonstrated that no matter the language, music can bridge the gap of hearing and feeling by touching the hearts of everyone.

Like the Tzu Chi signers on Saturday night who used 100% of their beings to communicate the universal story of love that resonates throughout humankind, at the core of the Drop-In is our belief in the dignity and magnificence of every human being. When someone has lost their way and is lying bruised and battered on the road of life, we listen from our hearts and share our strength and courage so that they can see the possibilities of their life beyond homelessness.

On Saturday night, a group of performers opened their hearts and let their talents pour out in support of the Drop-In. For those of us in the room, that out-pouring inspired us to cherish our unique gifts, voice and our talents and to share them graciously and lovingly.

As I watched and listened to the performers on Saturday night, my heart was lifted, and I felt part of the incredible possibilities of what can happen when we put aside our differences and celebrate what it is we share in common through the universal language of love: Music.


Thank you:

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Calgary Chapter
Roger Feria Jr., Piano
Roger G Feria, tenor Saxophone
Sherrie Ashworth, Soprano
Sean Clarke, Flute
Marissa Feria, Piano
John Harris, Guitar
Marc Houde, Piano
Vicky Su, Guzheng
Emily Westell, Violin
Chuan-Chih Wu, Artist
Reg Knelson, Artist
Bernice G, Artist

Your generosity of time, talent and energy raised $5,600 for the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre, and lifted the spirits of everyone involved.

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