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Invitation to “Awakening to the Environment” Concert
November 1, 2015

Outreach Department, Venerable Director Man Kuang and Ven. Man Jing attended the “Awakening to the Environment” concert in representation of the temple. Hosted by Scripps College and the Joint Music Program of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges on the afternoon of November 1, Ven. Director Kuang spoke at the opening, expressing the Buddhist ideal of harmonious coexistence of all beings. The concert, which included the effort and support of more than 100 people, reveals the very concept of harmonious causes and conditions. The environment is the space which we reply upon to exist and only through the self-awakening of humankind, can we protect the earth and honor future generations. This concert is in response to the invitation of EnviroLab Asia, to use environmental protection as theme, with vocalists Stacey Fraser and Anne Harley of Scripps College, eight performers of Pomona College, eight composers including Bill Alves, Tom Flanerty, Majorie Merryman, Yii Kah Hoe of Harvey Mudd College, and also the Claremont Concert Choir and Claremont Chamber Choir of Claremont and Pitzer Colleges.

Head of planning and soprano, Anne Harley, is a Buddhist who has been deeply influenced by Chan and especially included 10 Tang dynasty and enlightenment poems relating to the natural environment. Coupled with musical instruments including the harp, flute, piano, triangle and Tibetan sound bowl, a Western ethereal ambience was conceived. Even rarer was whether vocalists or choirs, all sang in Chinese. For this great challenge, all performers studied Chinese painstakingly for at least an entire year.

The height of the concert came at the finale, with a 20 minute performance of Forest Threnody, including the 50-person choirs and both female sopranos in coordination with recordings of endangered Malaysian frogs and multimedia sound and film. The entire audience was left in amazement, as all were allowed to experience the terror if the rainforests were to disappear, human greed, and the worry of future generations. EnviroLab Asia is a non-profit organization of environmental researchers, currently with 8 participating universities, to give voice to the protection of Asian rainforests in a joint effort.