PureInsight | March 5, 2006
[PureInsight.org] "The history
of choral singing in Europe originated in churches." Mr. Haroldo
started our conversation with this sentence. The conductor of a chorus
composed of members from 14 countries in Europe was not anxious to talk
about his own chorus. Instead, he started talking about the history of
choral singing as a form of traditional western performing arts.
"At the beginning, there were only male voices when people sang in
churches spontaneously. Then the female voices joined in. Later on,
choruses in churches included combinations of different voices sung by
males and females. Almost all western classical masters considered
church choral music as an important type of musical composition. Some
noteworthy composers of church choral music included Georg Philipp
Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Georg-Friedrich Handel in the
Baroque period and Joseph Hayden andWolfgang Amadeus Mozart in later
times. Telemann created more than 1400 pieces of church choral music.
Bach was recognized as ‘the Father of Church Music.' His
Christmas Oratorio and Handel's Messiah are large-scale choral music
with orchestral accompaniments in praise of God for coming to the human
world. These works have become the indispensable programs for
celebrating Christmas throughout the world."
After studying music in his home country, Brazil, Mr. Haroldo was eager
to find the roots of classical music. Although he could work in Brazil
as a piano instructor and conductor of a church choir, he went to the
origin of western classical music in Europe to explore the secrets
behind musical masterpieces and look for the perfect musical notes in
his heart. In 1988, he arrived in Germany. "During the Baroque times
after the Renaissance, western classical music was at its peak. At that
time a lot of renowned composers were not attached to their own talent,
but, instead, were grateful for receiving inspiration from Heaven."
"In the afternoon of August 22, 1741, Handel started creating the
"Messiah." It was a suite of music to laud the Great Savior. While
composing the piece, he constantly prayed to God for inspiration. It
took him only 24 days to complete this masterpiece. It was said that
Handel was often moved to tears while composing the music. Tears soaked
his manuscript. Especially when he was composing the Hallelujah Chorus,
he once knelt down and spread his arms: ‘I see the heavenly gate
open!' He gave up his original plan of making money from the
Haroldo studied at the Handel Music School in Handel's hometown of
Halle. He then became a piano instructor at the school. He lived in
Leipzig with his wife and two daughters. The St. Thomas Church in
Leipzig still has the organ Bach once played. The Bach Music Festival
every May attracts many classical music fans and tourists.
"Music is more powerful than language. People choose to express their
beliefs and respect of the divine with choral music in churches. A lot
of highly respected and popular music for choruses takes this same
theme. When human beings truly respect the divine from the bottom of
their hearts, God will impart the best music to people. Therefore the
creator and player of music need to go beyond the secular world and
achieve a realm close to the divine, constantly correct and improve
themselves to be able to create or interpret the inner meanings."
Haroldo's favorite is the story of Hayden, the founder of Vienna
Classical School. He hopes to conduct Hayden's choral suite "Genesis"
"When friends visited Hayden, they asked for the secrets of successful
musical composition. Hayden told them that, every morning, his first
thing after brushing his teeth and washing his face was to pray to God
and thank God for inspiration. After breakfast, he started composing
beside the piano. Notes flew from of his hands. When he ran out of
inspiration, he knelt down and prayed. He reflected on himself whether
there was anything he should have improved. He would resume composng
after he felt that he had obtained forgiveness from God."
It seems that oriental people are not the only people who know about
cultivation. When composing music, these western musicians were already
in the Tao.
Two years ago, Haroldo started conducting a choir of cultivators, the European "Coming for You" chorus.
"A good soloist might not be a good choral singer. As a choral singer,
one should not only have a beautiful voice with good pitch, he or she
should also be able to listen to the common voice of the group and
assimilate one's voice into the group's. In this way, what the audience
hears will in perfect harmony. The singing is the most effective when
Members of the European Coming for You chorus are from Germany, Sweden,
Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Russia and other countries. How
could they achieve the best result with their different languages,
cultural backgrounds, professions and physical distance? For this,
Haroldo went to observe at the Leipzig Radio Chorus. He learned a lot
of management and conducting skills from the training site of the best
professional chorus in Europe.
"We have taken a path different than that of professional
choruses. Every member not only practices techniques diligently, but
also works on his/her mind nature with strict self requirements. All
members let go of their selfishness, treat the group as the most
important, genuinely consider others first, and dedicate the
performances to the audience. When every member's mind state is at its
purest, the group's power becomes strongest. Then it delivers the best
The practice schedule goes like this: each member practices on his or
her own. Periodically, members in each country practice together in
groups. Every month, there is a group rehearsal in Germany and Sweden.
Prior to major performances, all members will gather together and
participate in intensive rehearsals. "During the rehearsals, the level
of the chorus improves dramatically every day. Every day I have nice
surprises. I feel this is a gift from Heaven. Every time, after the big
rehearsals, my ears hear purer and purer harmoney for several days
after I returned home."
Hard work and self reflection helps the western members sing with
authentic Chinese pronunciations. Everything happens as if the gods are
assisting. Two years ago, when the audience heard the sentence in
Chinese "crossing so many rivers and mountains," many of them were
moved to tears. After two years, the chorus was again invited by the
New Tang Dynasty Television Chinese New Year Global Gala to perform in
New York City.
Haroldo is about to depart for the performance. "We are all very
delighted. We look forward to bringing beauty to the oriental and
western audience members with this form of traditional European
What kind of beauty? "Praising mankind and life. Singing for belief and
morality. Just like the lyrics in one of our songs: ‘May virtue
shine forever, unchanged, may life be full of sweet fragrance.'"