Every Easter, the American Red Cross, together with the Interfaith Community of Northern California, celebrates the gift of life. This joyful effort was barely imagined a decade ago. Now, the beautiful music and sense of giving has taken hold, fostering friendships among the churches and throughout the community. All it took was an invitation.
Archibishop Cordileone first suggested holding an Interfaith concert that resulted in Lamb of God. In 2011, then Bishop Cordileone of the Oakland Diocese met with leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to suggest that the two groups work together on an Interfaith service project. It was decided in that meeting to conduct an East Bay Interfaith Blood Drive. That began a tradition that has resulted in one of the largest faith-based blood drives in the U.S. for the American Red Cross. This drive spans areas throughout northern California in July and now includes numerous faith-based organizations. In that first year when Bishop Cordileone expressed his desire and his vision, an Easter concert was suggested to connect the gift of blood to the community with an event that also honors the gift of life through Jesus Christ. At that time, director Alan Chipman was preparing to present Lamb of God sometime in the foreseeable future, though he hadn't anticipated it for that year. But when he got the call to join the effort, there was no question or hesitation but to switch his plans to a production fast track. It quickly became a wonderful Easter season tradition.
Rob Gardner's Lamb of God is a modern masterpiece that brings the story and meaning of Easter to life. The songs tell the story of the final days of Christ's life leading to the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection. The story unfolds through the eyes of his followers, including Peter, John, Mary the Mother, and Martha. When writing the music, Mr. Gardner knew that he did not want someone on the stage physically portraying the part of Jesus. Instead, the cello soloist is used to represent Christ. The voice of the cello becomes the actions and words of Jesus. The style of the oratorio is somewhat similar to the ensemble style of the music of Les Mis and the choir and instruments are as much a part of telling the story as the soloists. When finished with their solos, those singers become part of the crowd, rejoining the choir as one of the disciples or onlookers of the events.
Mr. Gardner bases the words of the oratorio on the King James version of the Holy Bible, but also uses each soloist's character to share some insight into how they view themselves in relationship to Jesus and to what Jesus taught them.
When asked to share his feelings about his experience conducting this musical masterpiece, Alan Chipman replies, "I have been directing choirs, orchestras and musical performances for over 40 years, both religious and secular. No music we have ever performed has more meaningful impact on the heart and soul as Rob Gardner's Lamb of God. The words are precious. The music touches the spirit of all who hear it. The message testifies of Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross and atonement for all mankind. What a beautiful Easter musical experience for me to stand in front of the choir and orchestra and hear this powerful message."
That's just part of the story. During the audition and rehearsal process, people are moved and inspired far more than ever expected. Many who may be feeling pain or affliction find themselves comforted and healed through the spirit of the music. Audiences and participants' families are also moved. People contribute their time and talents. Even the composer relinquishes his copyrights. Diversity holds hands, embracing humanity. Good begets more good. Come get some for yourself during one of our performances.
Editor's Suggestion: Attend an early show. You will likely be so moved that you'll think of others whom you'll invite to see it with you again, before the season ends.
Temple Hill Events
4780 Lincoln Ave — Oakland CA 94602
Copyright © 2008-2021 Temple Hill Events — All Rights Reserved.
TempleHillEvents.com | TempleHillEvents.org