“Grateful people are rich in their hearts”. On October 12 night, the BLIA Toronto Chapter and Fo Guang Shan Toronto choirs jointly held a special Sounds of the Humanistic World Music Contest for the Canadian Thanksgiving as a way to show gratitude to Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Dharma propagation through sound and music whereby wisdom, compassion and the joy of Buddhism penetrate, purify and uplift our spirits. 145 attendees enjoyed a feast of music filled with sentiments and gratitude.
The host, Jennifer Lee (conductor and instructor of the Fo Guang Shan Toronto choir), began the concert by first introducing the causes and mission behind the founding of holding the Sounds of the Humanistic World Concert Music Contest in 2003. Venerable Chueh Fan, the Abbess of FGS Temple of Toronto, was invited to address the guests. She first greeted all by wishing them a happy Thanksgiving. Venerable Chueh Fan pointed out that as a joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the various FGS temples in North America and various BLIA chapters worldwide made special efforts to collaborate in organizing the 2020 North America Sounds of the Human World Music Contest, the North America Humanistic Buddhism Reading and Sharing Club, and the 2020 North America BLIA Buddhist Exam. In particular, in the North America Sounds of the Human World Concert, 39 musical pieces from Toronto were submitted for preliminary selection in the contest. Upon assessment by 5 judges based on sound quality, emotion, creativity and technique, 6 musical pieces were selected for the semi-final in the Eastern North American region. The judges for the preliminary selection, Wen Li Liang, instructor of the Toronto FGS Choir, and Wai Choi Chan, member of the BLIA World Headquarter Council, were impressed by the contestants. Although they were not professional musicians, they displayed their awe for and faith in Buddhism and understanding of the Dharma.
The two hosts, Jennifer Lee and Jie Lu, introduced the video clips the FGS Toronto Choir performing “Floating Like a Dream” and the songs by the 6 semi-finalists. What was most touching was when the clip of the Toronto FGS Choir performing “Floating Like a Dream” was playing, the choir members attending the concert online were also singing along. After each song, each contestant shared his or her personal thoughts on his or her participation the selection. The choir instructor Jennifer Lee provided feedback on the spot. The president of BLIA Toronto Chapter, Mabel Ho, thanked everyone for their support in the closing speech.
You can rewatch the event here: https://youtu.be/qCCbzdmpF74
Translated by Annabelle Lui
Proofread by Stephanie Lam