Working Together for World Peace—an SDG Implementation Project
On Sunday, August 11, 2019, ASEZ held its second Working Together for World Peace concert, featuring the Church of God Orchestra and New Jerusalem Choir. The World Mission Society Church of God hosted the concert at the world-renowned Lincoln Center for Performing Arts Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan. The concert served as a platform for ASEZ to spread awareness of their Sustainable Development Goal implementation project worldwide.
When a collection of various instruments and voices unite as one, they create beautiful harmonies and melodies. ASEZ believes this teaches a valuable lesson on how we can work together for a positive, more sustainable future.
Through the concert, ASEZ brought together various members of the community in order to work together in promoting peace and safety in society. Attendees included UN representatives, New York government officials, and other influential figures. Furthermore, the program was packed with three sets of orchestral and choral performances, guest speakers, and a surprise presentation of a letter of recognition to ASEZ from the NYS Assembly.
The Church of God Orchestra and the New Jerusalem Choir performed for the concert, bringing musicians and singers from different parts of the country and the world together for the first time. The performers, all members of the Church of God, hailed from several U.S. cities, including New York, Denver, and Los Angeles. Moreover, Church of God Orchestra members even traveled all the way from South Korea to play in the concert.
The Concert Commences and Guest Speakers Take the Stage
The afternoon began with some welcoming words from the hosts, followed by the first set of pieces by the Church of God Orchestra. They kicked things off with some familiar and old-time favorites, playing “Triumphal March,” “Waltz No. 2,” “Tritsch Tratsch Polka,” and “Pomp and Circumstance No 4.”
Afterwards, guest speakers from various sectors of the New York government took the stage to speak on the initiatives of the ASEZ student volunteers. Speakers included New York State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh, Judge Regina Rinaldi and NYC Councilman Peter Koo.
During the guest speaker segment of the program, each speaker shared words of encouragement to the ASEZ volunteers. They also provided different perspectives on how important youth volunteerism is in helping promote world peace.
Assemblyman Sayegh focused on the significance of coming together and finding commonalities to achieve world peace, with a special focus on top societal concerns. He put emphasis on the importance of young adults work together, citing ASEZ volunteers for taking the lead in community service and working in harmony, despite differences in culture, race and ethnicity.
On behalf of the New York State Assembly, Assemblyman Sayegh awarded ASEZ with a letter of recognition in honor of their passion to save the earth from A to Z—from the beginning to the end. “You [ASEZ members] truly love the world from A to Z,” stated Assemblyman Sayegh.
Judge Regina Rinaldi spoke on the importance of not only preventing crime, but also preventing the reoccurrence of crime. She commended on the work of the ASEZ volunteers for their “Reduce Crime Together” campaign. She noted how the students are not only removing proponents of crime but are also creating a pleasant atmosphere for those who are reentering society after serving their sentence.
She thanked the ASEZ students for thinking of the causes of these issues and working to prevent its occurrence and propagation. She also spoke from the perspective of a mother, sharing how her own experience with her son has shaped her perspective of the needs of others to stay crime-free.
“A lot of people continue to commit crimes because they do not have a strong family support system. We need to love them unconditionally with the heart of a mother. A mother’s love can change people,” Judge Rinaldi said. “ASEZ can help these people to be influenced to change by being moved by providing a clean environment and warm community.”
Councilman Peter Koo of Flushing, Queens, NY also delivered a brief speech, thanking the Church of God and ASEZ members for taking the lead as volunteers in Flushing. He encouraged ASEZ members, saying, “Your work is really important, and I’m happy to join your mission.”
Following the guest speakers, the audience watched a short video depicting the Church of God’s continual community involvement in the 175 countries where the church is located. World Mission Society Church of God representative, Elder John Power, explained that the members’ belief in God the Father and God the Mother is the driving force that leads them to accomplish such altruistic deeds.
After explaining a bit about International Youth Day, which fell on Monday, August 12, Elder John Power referred to Psalm 110:3, focusing on the “dew of the youth.” Moreover, he explained how God foretold the appearance of the youth who are to rise up with a willing mind to carry out the good works of God. He encouraged audience members of every age, saying that even if we are older, as long as we have a youthful heart and spirit, we too can participate in the mission of ASEZ.
The Performances Continue
Following the speakers, the Church of God Orchestra took the stage once again, this time performing “The Bright Heavenly Way,” “La La Land,” “March Colonel Bogey,” and the Church of God’s very own composition of “The Staff of Moses.” Afterwards, the New Jerusalem Choir joined the orchestra on stage, along with the female quartet. Together, they performed “When You Believe” from the animated film The Prince of Egypt.
Needless to say, what would a New York City concert be without a little Frank Sinatra? In fact, Sinatra performed in the very same venue exactly 40 years ago. In lieu of Frank, the male quartet took the stage to perform “My Way” with the orchestra. After that, the male quartet performed the Church of God’s own chilling rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” along with the choir and orchestra.
Lastly, the choir and orchestra united in fantastic harmony for the final performance of the program—the well-known “Hallelujah” chorus piece. The audience responded with a loud cheer and applause as well as a standing ovation. However, just when it seemed like the concert was over, loud cries for an encore filled the hall. So, to close out the evening, the orchestra performed Johann Strauss Sr.’s “Radetzky March.” The audience clapped along to the upbeat tune, swaying back and forth in their seats throughout the duration of the performance.
As the concert concluded, all of the guests streamed out from the concert hall with smiles on their faces. Ecstatic energy filled the foyer with positive remarks and excitement. Some guests expressed amazement at the diversity of the performers as well as the fact that they are all members of the Church of God.
Meanwhile, several guests were moved to tears by the united and harmonious sounds of the choir and orchestra. One guest even commented that what he heard is “impossible” and praised the Church of God for putting on such an invigorating show.
The ASEZ student volunteers earnestly hope that all attendees received inspiration to join in advocating for a more peaceful society. Stay up to date with ASEZ by viewing the activities page or contact us to find out about future events. Join ASEZ each step of the way as we move forward to reduce crime together and achieve world peace.