The Development of Manhattan's Alexander Hamilton Chorus
by Diane Sare
Because it's like a chorus, like a musical chorus. And what you have, is you're having a number of people who are learning how to play in concert. But this is not the musical thing as such, but it's the same thing as the musical thing: You're developing a principle of concept, and concert, and that's what you depend upon if you want to really build an organization.
Our commitment now is to development, professionally, with some people who are professional and some not, but who have an inclination for musical performance, and who can show that they have a potentiality of becoming successful, or being induced to become successful. And you've got to say that that musical idea, of a musical chorus, is as if you can imagine, all of Manhattan suddenly has become a musical chorus, resonating from the top to the bottom, and on the seas beyond.
—Lyndon LaRouche with the
LaRouche PAC Policy Committee
June 15, 2015
NEW YORK CITY, June 21—In October of last year, Lyndon LaRouche announced his intent to revive Alexander Hamilton's Manhattan to its proper national and international role as the center for restoring the unity of the United States of America. A crucial aspect of this, has been, and will be even more, the formation of a community chorus, based on the principle of harmony, as expressed above.
Today, after 15 years of insane Bush and Obama Presidencies, embedded in over a century of stupidity (see EIR Vol. 42 No. 24), the nation is not divided, but shattered. Americans have been driven to such despair and demoralization that many have become completely alienated from their fellow human beings. Where is the outrage in New York about the drought in California? Where is the respect from the young for the elderly? Where is the anguish of the parents over the future of their children? Communication between people is not even spoken, but is carried on by text, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the list goes on. Personal (as in, in-person) relations are largely relegated to the erotic or criminal.
On top of that, or perhaps as a result of that, we have a president who is about to plunge the world into thermonuclear war, while he indulges himself in fantasy-ridden snuff films about the killing of Osama bin Laden, or hosts orgiastic rock concerts, which are the moral equivalent.
That being said, there is a better side to the American people, and it emanates from Manhattan; explicitly from Alexander Hamilton and his collaborators' battle for the principle of the human mind vs. the bestial approach of the Virginia slaveholders: (see EIR Vol. 42 No. 19).
It is this human quality of the American population which can be most directly accessed though Classical music, specifically choral music.
A Choir is Born
In December 2014, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a police officer who was captured on video suffocating an African-American man, Eric Garner, in an illegal chokehold. Demonstrations, marches, and skirmishes with police broke out all over New York City, in spite of the pleas of Garner's family for calm. The anger was already building because the Staten Island ruling came shortly after a November ruling in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict an officer who had shot and killed an 18-year-old unarmed African-American man.
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Members of the Schiller Institute in New York City decided, given the season, that it would be appropriate to hold a "Sing-Along" of Handel's Messiah dedicated to the principle that every human life is sacred. The passionate response of professional soloists, who donated their time to sing, and the gratitude of the audience of over 100 who showed up to participate on a few days' notice, indicated a desire in the population to overcome hatred and division with harmony and unity. The necessity of this endeavor was tragically underscored when organizers and musicians learned that, just in the very moments the chorus was opening the program with the canon Dona nobis pacem (give us peace), two young police officers had been shot and killed as they sat in their police car in Brooklyn.
Members of the audience urged the Schiller Institute to establish a community choir in Manhattan, and a few weeks later, the first rehearsal was held with a wildly diverse group of professionals, amateurs, and political supporters who had never sung outside of the shower. The group gathered in a rehearsal studio tucked away in a nondescript aging office building.
The December sing-along, as all rehearsals and performances of the Schiller Institute, was held at the Verdi tuning of A=432Hz, and the choir always rehearses at this tuning, which allows the greatest resonance of the human singing voice, and transparency with the instrumental voices. (See "The True Scientific Musical Tuning" in this issue) It turned out that the accompanist for the Messiah sing-along, had been the accompanist for the legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi, who had participated in a Schiller Institute-sponsored demonstration of the Verdi tuning 22 years ago in New York City!
The combination of the proper pitch, bel canto training, and musical direction from the Schiller Institute's John Sigerson have allowed this growing, but very young chorus to have a warmth and fullness of sound which surprised the professional musicians in the orchestra that accompanied the most recent performance of the Mozart Coronation Mass on June 6. One of the string players, who had just performed with another amateur chorus the previous day, commented:
I think I am beginning to understand this tuning question. Your chorus has a much more open sound than the one I played for last night.
The dialogue ensuing with these instrumental musicians has sparked their interest, not to mention the fact that they can play more freely when the chorus is not pinched and straining in an arbitrary tuning. As the chorus develops, so does the orchestra, apparently! Recruiting a "chorus" of instrumental players, i.e., an orchestra, is clearly a lawful part of this musical expansion into Manhattan.
Back to Hamilton and Greece
From Hamilton's time to the present, New York City has been the center, of not only trade and criminal financial dealings, as on Wall Street, but of scientific and cultural discourse, which is informed by the history of Hamilton's commitment to unify our nation. LaRouche estimates that up to 20-30% of this population is susceptible of being recruited to support this mission today.
It is in this spirit that LaRouche organizers have endeavored to build the chorus, which now has several new members each week. The members of the chorus range in age from 19 to 84, and the range in musical experience, as well as cultural origin, is just as wide. Professional musicians are joining for the love of music, and amateurs are joining because they "always wanted to sing." Somehow, it is becoming a more cohesive group every week, the more new people join.
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What is the idea of chorus? What is its purpose? How does the human mind work? As in the Thursday night telephone dialogues with Mr. LaRouche, the participants become more familiar with their own minds as they hear the thoughts of others, and then they respond. As LaRouche described it:
My purpose is to get the idea of a concert, produce a concert of various people, and we're now talking about 50, 60, or 70 right now who are hearing each other! And many of them are coming back; some are not there at certain times, but the overall process is that.
The function of chorus is twofold.
One, it allows the participants to develop a concept of their own thinking, or singing, as it is a part of a whole. As in the musical chorus, the whole is invariably greater than the sum of its parts, as can be demonstrated with the community chorus; if you were to hear each voice alone, the variety would be, minimally, shocking, but as a chorus, there is a unity of effect.
Two, the chorus has an effect on the rest of society, which is supposedly not participating in the chorus per se. This quality of chorus, as it relates to society as a whole, ennobles the population at large by lifting them out of the sense-perceptual world to a truthful domain which cannot be expressed in common language, except through metaphor.
This is the principle of the Greek chorus, which is understood by Shakespeare and used to powerful effect in his drama Henry V. Ironically, in the play "Chorus" is one person. Or is it? Who is chorus?