A Schiller Birthday Celebration
An Afternoon of Music, Drama & Poetry
Saturday, November 11th, 2017
"Great Is he, who overcomes the terrifying; Man is greater than his fate."
The Schiller Institute of Houston held a celebration of culture and the beauty of human creativity and mankind, in honor of the German poet of Freedom Friedrich Schiller, for whom the Schiller Institute was named. The four-hour program featured some of the most beautiful expressions of art and culture through Classical poetry, music, and drama.
Only a few months after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and so many other tragic disasters devastating our country, the nation has dealt with a great deal of suffering and loss. The Schiller Institute hosted such a cultural event to give the population a renewed sense of dignity and a more beautiful vision for the future of mankind. This was most beautifully expressed through exploring the beauty of great culture, and Schiller's conception of the Sublime.
The program started with remarks from Helga LaRouche, conveyed by Brian Lantz on the need for Schiller in the culture today to understand the relationship of harmony among mankind through great culture and beauty. Brian Lantz presented further opening remarks and developed Schiller's idea of the Sublime and how that would be carried forth throughout the program. The program included the Houston Schiller Institute Community Chorus performing several pieces, starting with two patriotic songs, including the National Anthem and America (sung by a women's chorus). The chorus also performed Haydn's Missa Brevis in G, Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus, two spirituals, "Balm in Gilead," and "When I Was Sinkin' Down." Finally, the chorus concluded with Verdi's Va Pensiero and a traditional hymn, The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
In addition to the choral performances there were a number of other contributions; of note was participation from the Confucius Institute. A few of the Chinese-language teachers sang two Chinese folk songs, and there was also an instrumental piece played on the Erhu.
The audience was of the highest quality. There were more than 50 guests in attendance in a large, comfortable room in what was once a private home and is now a well-known cultural center. It included, as noted earlier, representatives from the Confucius Institute, a Russian Consul, a university professor who has hosted a previous Belt and Road Forum with us, a leader of the Haitian and Caribbean community, an African businessman and several long-term supporters and activists, to name a few. During and after the performance, participants and attendees were boiling over with joy and excitement. People had truly experienced the the sublime. Some key responses after the event included a conversation Brian had with a consular representative, who came up to him at the end of the event and expressed high regard for what we presented. He was most appreciative of the Columbus poem by Schiller recited in German by one of our chorus members, following an English recitation by a member. He said he sometimes has problems following metaphor in English, but the German recitation was very helpful. A 92-year- old attendee emailed back shortly after and was very thankful for the event. She said Schiller will live on, and she remains optimistic about her own life—for she continues to buy green bananas! She expressed that she had never seen such talent in one organization. Our choral director Dorceal, who sang a beautiful aria, "Il Lacerato Spirito," followed the entire program intently, clearly moved by the idea of the Sublime being presented.
Two of our newer chorus members approached Evelyn after the event, very happy about the presentation of the drama, which featured the soliloquies of Schiller's Wallenstein, and Joan of Arc from the Maid of Orleans. In respect to Wallenstein they expressed how important it was for people to know this history, the Thirty Years War, and so forth.
Ian spoke with two ladies who came off a poster displayed at a community center where we had performed a number of times before. One of the ladies was most deeply affected by the respectful and beautiful rendition of the national anthem. She asked about the founders and roots of the Schiller institute. When Ian started to go into the role of Lyndon and Helga LaRouche, she was completely stunned to know who created such a beautiful organization. Many of her axioms about LaRouche were busted right then and there.
Those who participated in and attended this event experienced that which was truly beautiful and sublime, and left with the idea of the beauty that must permeate our society and the world, bringing together the best attributes of human culture.