The 30 Days of Peace observance put on each year by the Alpena Coalition for Peace concludes next week with two major events. A variety of speakers, prayer services and programs have been well-attended throughout the month-long initiative leading up to the traditional Peace Concert set for Oct. 7 and announcement of the coalition's Peace Contest Awards on Oct. 12.
The concert, set for 7 p.m. at St. Anne Catholic Church, will feature many of the area's highly regarded musicians and vocalists, along with guest performer Jemini. All will be presenting music with the common thread of peace.
"It's become such a unifying factor in our community and amongst the artists," said Laurie Trahan, who helps to organize the event. "Everyone is so willing and their hearts are for peace. That's why they do it."
Canadian performer Jemini will particicpate in this year’s Peace Concert sponsored annually by the Alpena Coalition for Peace.
The concert will begin as always with the singing of "Whatever Be Your Name" by cantor Rev. Owen Williams, with piano accompaniment by Bunny Lyon. The lyrics for this particular piece were written by former Alpena resident Michael Brinkman and put to music by Williams.
The concert also always concludes in the same fashion with the singing of "Dawn of Peace," composed by Mark Pope. Flute accompaniment will be provided by Katie Cook and Mary Ann Hubbard and piano accompaniment by Trahan.
In between these two standards, guest performer Jemini of Canada will perform three selections she has composed and arranged. They are titled "World Peace," "Time is Winding Up" and "Crazy World."
30 Days of Peace final week:
- Oct. 5 Showing of DVD, "Of Gods and Men," 6:30 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church
- Oct. 7 Peace Concert, 7 p.m., St. Anne's Church
- Oct. 8 Prayer reflection on the beatitudes, noon, First Congregational Church
- Oct. 9 Peace Contest exhibit opens, Alpena Mall
- Oct. 10 Peace liturgy, noon, Trinity Episcopal Church
- Oct. 12 Peace Contest winners announced, noon, Alpena Mall
Jemini brings her Jamaican ancestry and rock and roots Reggae music to her performances. Introduced to music and singing while in elementary school, she soon became fully entrenched in the craft and heavily influenced by Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige.
Capturing the emotion of a story or event, Jemini uses her personal experience, or those of friends and family, as the basis for music.
"I cannot sing for singing sake," she has said. "I must sing from experience."
Her song, "World Peace," was written and dedicated to all soldiers around the world who are fighting for world peace.
Alpena Coalition for Peace member and organizer Carol Skiba said Jemini heard about the Peace Concert via the Internet and contacted the coalition about wanting to come to Alpena and share her music. She agreed to do the concert free of charge because she believes in the cause.
Other selections on the concert program are the Long Rapids Community Choir, under the direction of conductor Robert Sullivan, performing "I Lift My Eyes: Psalm 121" by Hopson and "Undivided" by Melodie Pune. Amy Truth will provide the musical accompaniment for these selections.
Soloist Judy Case will sing "Carry the Light" by Twila Paris with Betsy Adamus on piano. The St. Anne's Handbell Choir, conducted by Trahan, will perform "Amazing Grace" by Sandra Eithun and "Simple Gifts" by Kevin MaChesney.
Alpena High School Women's Chorale, under the leadership of Jean Brown, will offer two numbers: "The River Sleeps Beneath the Sky" by composer Mary Lynn Lightfoot and "Without a Song" by William Rose. Windsong, comprised of flutists Betsy Adamus, Judy Case, Joanne Root and MaryAnn Hubbard, will play "Adagio" by Samuel Barber.
Sololist Williams will then return to the spotlight with "There is More Love Somewhere," and the Besser Chorus will sing, "You Raise Me Up" and "I Will Lift My Eyes." The Besser Chorus is conducted by Lyon, with Suelynn Bartz on piano and Hubbard on flute.
The Peace Concert is always moving and inspirational for audiences. Sister Catherine Anderson said this is due in part to the ability of music itself to reach people on an emotional level.
"Music is the universal language. It moves the heart in a positive way," she said.
The final event on the 30 Days of Peace calendar is the exhibition of student entries for the annual Peace Contest. All of the works submitted by students from a number of area schools will go on display at the Alpena Mall beginning Oct. 9. The students were asked to use their creativity to present their concepts of peace, whether in the form of photography, poetry, posters, sculpture or painting.
The winning entries in the Peace Contest will be announced at noon Oct. 12 at the mall. Dave Green will provide musical selections prior to presentation of the award. Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora will be on hand to give each of the winners their awards.