Last September, the city of Reggio Emilia, Italy, celebrated the Week of Peace. Volunteers for TPRF presented Prem Rawat’s message and sought to involve young people through a number of creative and musical events. The project, an idea of artist Corinna Presi, was developed with the help of a small team of volunteers coming from different Italian regions and supported by the People4Peace Association of Rome.
Says Giulia, one of the volunteers from Rome, “Music gives us a very special way to speak about peace. Helping to organize the very first Songs 4 Peace music contest was a thrilling experience.” Ten bands and artists competed in two semifinal events, and the final contest was held to coincide with International Peace Day on September 21. Each band was asked to perform an original song about peace to be judged by a jury of professional musicians. Most of the participants came from northern Italy, but there was one singer-musician who came all the way from the UK to participate in the contest.
The program of events included a street art performance with a huge painting on the theme of peace facilitated by artist Giustino Caposciutti in the historic center of Reggio Emilia. The performance involved over 100 people from all over the city, including artists and high school students. The painting was paraded through the city center streets in celebration of the International Day of Peace. Caposciutti’s painting is now exhibited and for sale at the High School of Arts G. Chierici.
On September 21, a video presentation was organized at the Al Corso theatre. Representatives from the Scuola Di Pace (School of Peace) in Reggio Emilia, and the university student association, Unilife, attended the event. Francesco, President of Unilife, said that the video presentation was a cause for some deep reflection and provoked a desire to learn more about Prem Rawat’s message of peace. As a result, TPRF volunteers have been invited to hold monthly video presentations at Unilife’s headquarters. Related print materials and DVDs will also be available at the Media Library in Reggio Emilia.
During the Week of Peace, De Andrè Theatre, in the neighboring town of Casalgrande, welcomed an audience of 75 for the first semifinal. In between the music performances, they also enjoyed several short videos created by TPRF especially for the International Day of Peace. Ninety people attended the second semifinal that took place at I Vizi Del Pellicano Arci Club.
Then on September 21, 100 people attended the finals at Tunnel Arci Club, with light-hearted entertainment from a well known Italian comedian, Davide Dal Fiume. All the original songs were extremely moving, with one group of young musicians performing a touching song about a soldier finally returning home to his family with a desire for peace after the war. Eight bands competed for the prize which was finally won by a band called Mindset.
The organizers were thrilled by the response of young people who were touched by the message and happy to write songs about peace. Says Giulia “Mindset moved the jury, playing a beautiful inspiring song. The band won a trip to perform at the next Peacebeats event to be held at the end of January in London. ”
The last major Peacebeats event occurred on September 21, where a 48 hour webcast was broadcast worldwide showcasing artists, documentaries, dancing, singing poetry readings, and individual expressions of the desire for peace. This webcast also featured a very special interview of Peace Ambassador Prem Rawat by Peace One Day founder Jeremy Gilley.
Says Corinna, who was the project manager for Songs 4 Peace, “It’s the first time that this type of initiative has been held in Italy, organized by young volunteers. The aim was to create new opportunities for cultural exchange between European countries in the name of peace and to promote the Songs 4 Peace music concerts year after year worldwide.”
The volunteers would like to thank all those who supported them, both locally and remotely.