2019 Concert to Feed the Hungry
On April 28th, Buddhist Global Relief held its 8th annual “Concert to Feed the Hungry” at the beautiful Saint Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery, a spiritual center in lower Manhattan that has been devoted to arts and social justice activism for many years. The concert was preceded by a series of moving presentations from BGR partners such as North Country Mission of Hope, which works on behalf of poor communities in Nicaragua.
The musicians who performed at the concert brought a diverse and exciting array of music from around the world, including klezmer, jazz, and South American folkloric music. It was also a pleasure to get to present my own chamber work “Upasiva’s Question”, in which I had the opportunity to set to music a verse from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s recent translation of the Parayanavagga (“The Way To the Beyond”).
Each year the concert serves as an important reminder of the joy we in the BGR community can take in helping those who are threatened by a constant scarcity of food and other basic resources. With their music, the performers expressed a shared aspiration for a better and more equitable world. In so doing they intersected with the spiritual development of a compassionate heart that is crucial to our ability to see beyond cultural differences and to resonate with our shared humanity, that we are all susceptible to the ravages of hunger – what the Buddha called “the worst kind of illness”.
BGR gives special thanks to Sofia Rei, Richie Barshay, Carmen Staaf, Jeff Williams, and the many other performers who participated on April 28 to make it such an inspiring and uplifting afternoon of music.
Dan Blake is a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has developed a wide-ranging career as a contemporary composer, performer and educator. This is his eighth year organizing Buddhist Global Relief's Concert to Feed the Hungry in New York City.