“Lullaby of Peace” Concert
A WORLD PREMIER
Monday, December 11 at 11:00 a.m.
Arts Club of Washington DC
On Monday, December 11, 2017 the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) in collaboration with the Washington International Piano Art Consul (WIPAC) celebrated the start of the Holiday Season with the World Premier presentation of the “Lullaby of Peace.”
For this special holiday event, the volunteers of AAFSW and its Program Chair, Sheila Switzer, worked hard to secure the Executive Mansion “Arts Club of Washington DC,” former home of President James Monroe and his wife Elizabeth Monroe. This is the elegant mansion where the first Inaugural Ball took place. In addition to this special and wonderful premier concert of the “The Lullaby of Peace,” guests had the opportunity to tour and enjoy this historical and intimate home, which is located just a few blocks from the White House.
AAFSW and WIPAC, in association with Azerbaijan University of Languages Sonmaz Mashal CRPU of Baku, proudly presented this brilliant creation of forging a poem with music composition entitled “The Lullaby of Peace.” Haskell Small, pianist and composer, envisioned the music. Chateau Gardecki, WIPAC Chairperson and Founder, commissioned this wonderful and meaningful project. The concert featured gifted Soprano Laura Choi Stuart, pianist Haskell Small, and clarinetist Cheryl Hill and narrator Irving Benavides debuting this wonderful tribute.
An Azerbaijani poem, “A Lullaby for Khojaly Kids,” written by Yusif Savalan and chosen by Shahla Naghiyeva, depicts the most tragic event in the course of the Nagomo-Karabakh conflict, which took place on February 25, 1992, where many civilians and children lost their lives. The poem was translated and edited by Shara McCallum, then set to music as “Khojaly Lullaby” by Haskell Small and worked especially for narrator with a tenor voice Irving Benavides, pianist, soprano, and clarinet. “Lullaby,” according to the pianist, carries the double meaning of the mother who sings her baby to sleep and of the politician who “sweet talks” the voter into total trust.
Following the concert, AAFSW guests enjoyed a wonderful lunch and much talk and socializing and wished each other well for the holidays. AAFSW is grateful for everybody’s presence, especially that of Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the USA, Elin Suleymanov, WIPAC Chair Chateau Gardecki, and all the artists involved for the realization of this amazing project.
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD