3rd Annual Seacoast Wind Ensemble Portsmouth Peace Treaty Concert Honors "Peacemakers & Diplomats" President Carter, Senator George Mitchell, Senator Claiborne Pell
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (June 1, 2009) -- On Saturday, June 20th at 8 pm at The Music Hall in downtown Portsmouth, the Seacoast Wind Ensemble presents "Peacemakers & Diplomats," a program of music celebrating Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter, Senator George Mitchell and the late Senator Claiborne Pell (RI) "in the spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty." Guest artists, Portsmouth Pro Musica will join in music from the Carter administration Camp David Accords celebration. The annual program by the Seacoast Wind Ensemble (www. SeacoastWindEnsemble.org) is organized and conducted by Music Director Richard C. Spicer and sponsored by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum, supported by the Japan-America Society of New Hampshire. Tickets are $15 ($5 for seniors, students and children under 12) and are available at The Music Hall Box Office, 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, by phone 603-436-2400 and on-line at www.themusichall.org
Richard Spicer, Music Director for the Seacoast Wind Ensemble and music historian has spent the past year researching music for the program. During a visit to the US Marine Corps Band library in Washington, DC he found the programs - and complete musical scores arranged for band - from the Inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, who would win the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for bringing peace between two warring countries, as President Theodore Roosevelt won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.
Mr. Spicer also found the program from the White House State Dinner on March 25, 1979, that celebrated those Camp David Accords, including a performance by the U.S. Army Chorus of an arrangement of traditional Egyptian and Israeli folk songs. That gave him the inspiration to invite local chorus Portsmouth Pro Musica under the direction of Priscilla French as guest artists for the June 20th concert to perform the piece. Then the challenge was to find the music needed to perform. "I began looking for the music that was arranged for the original concert, which led me to the original Army Band arranger, James Kessler, who is now retired," said Spicer. "To my delight and gratitude he agreed to provide the arrangement for chorus and the Ensemble. So we will be performing music specially arranged for the Portsmouth Peace Treaty concert, created by the same man who arranged the Camp David Accords concert."
Other selections on the program honor Senator George Mitchell, now special envoy to the Middle East, who helped negotiate the Northern Ireland peace accords and Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island (who died on January 1, 2009), founder of the Claiborne Pell Institute for International Relations and Public Policy. In addition to participating in the San Francisco Conference that created the United Nations, Senator Pell was the only member of the Senate to have been a Foreign Service Officer, with eight years in the diplomatic service including posts in Czechoslovakia following the Communist takeover. Senator Pell was also the principal sponsor of a 1965 law establishing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A performance of Sibelius' "Finlandia" commemorates the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martti Ahtisarri, former President of Finland. "The Portsmouth Peace Treaty is an important piece of history as the foundation for Theodore Roosevelt's Nobel Peace Prize and as an early demonstration that the ordinary American citizen can make a difference," said Charles Doleac, chairman of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum. "This annual commemorative concert helps trace that story from a musical perspective."
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum was created in 1994 to study and commemorate the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and to explore diplomatic themes "in the spirit of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty." In 1905, diplomats from Russia and Japan met in Portsmouth, as President Roosevelt's guests, to negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese War. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty is an important piece of history as the foundation for Theodore Roosevelt's Nobel Peace Prize and as an early demonstration that the ordinary American citizen can make a difference. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum and the many local groups who produce Treaty-themed programs and events have greatly expanded awareness of Portsmouth as a unique example of active community participation in American diplomacy. The Forum has supported programs created by more than 45 different organizations, encourages scholarly research and invites insight from leading diplomats and scholars. Initiatives include:
- Sites: The iconic sites along the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail include an exhibit on loan to the Portsmouth Historical Society's John Paul Jones House Museum and memorials and collections at the actual locations of the formal and informal Treaty negotiations at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Wentworth By the Sea and in the streets and neighborhoods of the community.
- Schools: A focused Treaty curriculum (grades 4-12) and the latest research compiled on the www.portsmouthpeacetreaty.com website, cited by the Library of Congress
- Commemorative cultural events: the annual Seacoast Wind Ensemble concert, Pontine Theatre's community theater workshops Sep 15-Oct 20, Portsmouth Peace Treaty "Beat Night" of poetry and jazz on September 17th and the annual Naval Shipyard and community wide church bell-ringing commemoration of the Treaty-signing on September 5th at 3:47 pm.
- Dialogues: NH Humanities Council-sponsored community lectures that engage audiences to consider the meaning of the Treaty for the present day; and an annual commemoration of Roosevelt's Nobel Peace Prize with prominent speakers, fostering discussions on the lessons of the Treaty for individual and community involvement in conflict resolution.
To learn more about the Treaty, scheduling lectures, exhibits or programs, visit www.PortsmouthPeaceTreaty.com