We launched our peace project on 12/13/14, hoping for a groundswell. By 9/21/15, the UN Peace Day, we’d received beautiful, new, recorded versions (with new verses and Russian translation) from three bands, we’d heard the song in the Hawaiian language, and we’d even received a verse from Russia!  Hoping there’s more in store, we’ve made it an open-ended effort and expanded the call beyond song, to include all art forms. Below is a log, where we’re tracking the progress of this project, over time.  [main peace project page]

PROJECT EVENT LOG SINCE INCEPTION

DATE EVENT
12/13/14 Official launch date of the For Our Time peace project. Our first offering was unadorned – just as real-estate agents paint walls in neutral tones so you can picture yourself there. Our female and male singers were accompanied simply on guitar, our way of saying “make it your own.”  
12/24/14 Our partner band A Moment’s Worth created a demo version and posted it on the 100th anniversary of an historic armistice, reminding us that songs can, indeed, play a role in fostering peace.  You can still hear this version in our project demonstration video.
1/30/15 Beautiful new video version from our partner band, A Moment’s Worth.
1/30/15
For Our Time... in Kauai. Left to Right: John Tyler, Puna Kalama Dawson, Vigil Alkana, Lauren Speeth, Mauliola Cook.

For Our Time… in Kaua’i. Left to Right: John Tyler, Puna Kalama Dawson (singer), Vigil Alkana, Lauren Speeth, Mauliola Cook (who translated the song).

Imagine wandering down a hall as if compelled to follow the mellifluous voice that was singing a strangely familiar tune, only to suddenly realize it was our own peace song, with new words in Hawaiian!  This actually happened, in January 2015. We had the joy of hearing the song, in Hawaiian, courtesy of the beautiful voice of Kumu Puna Kalama Dawson, along with other fine musicians, introduced to us by the wonderful dancer Kaluna Wong, whom we’d met at a health expo.  An ambassador of Aloha, Dawson is no stranger to peace songs, having been involved with the Up With People! project of the 1970s, and later with Open Hands of Peace. The Hawaiian lyrics speak of a lei of stars in the darkness. . .  A lei is a garland or wreath that is usually made of fragrant flowers, but can be made of shells or seeds, or other objects strung together with the intent to be worn. So… why not stars? The idea of presenting a lei of stars to someone who is in darkness is an exceedingly beautiful image of Aloha spirit. Aloha is a word with deep significance, meaning a way of living that embodies “alo,” sharing/presence, “oha,” friendship, and “ha,” life energy. The word for thanks, Mahalo, is closely related to Aloha: “ma” means in, and so mahalo can be thought of as a peace blessing, “may you be in the divine breath.” Mahalo to our peace partners in Kaua’i!

2/1/15 New acoustic version with The Voice’s finalist Bryan Keith.
1/30/15 Beautiful new lyrics from Kevin Morgenstern, leader of the band of Healing Stream, who in the late 70’s joined with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter to form Robert Hunter and Comfort. Kevin teamed with Hunter to write three songs for an album the band recorded and toured with the Jerry Garcia Band. His band Healing Stream is a talented collection of quality musicians that perform high energy Christian rock as well as modern acoustic and bluegrass music. They play original music and cover well known praise and worship standards as well as timeless Christian classics and old time and bluegrass selections. Healing Stream celebrates through music and lyric, the fullness of the spiritual life in a distinct and authentic Christian context. This is the cornerstone of the Friday night Evenings at the River (musical worship) experience and is offered again on Sunday mornings.   

In 2015, performance dates included the following 7:00 p.m. Friday evening performances: { February 27, March 20, September 4, October 16 } and the following 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning performances: { February 29, March 22, May 10, September 6 }, as well as Saturday’s Backpackpalooza event.  In 2016, the first performance was Friday, February 12th and other dates included Friday, October 14th. 

2/25/15 Father John Dear at Saint Mary’s College of California, an event sponsored by the SMC Mission and Ministry Center with funds from The Elfenworks Foundation peace initiative.
2/27/15    Peace Song Performance – Lauren Speeth, who wrote the original song For Our Time, performs with the musical band Healing Stream at Burlingame United Methodist Church.  The song is added to the band’s rotation at Evenings at the River, and dates include 9/4/15, 9/6/15, 10/16/15…    
3/20/15 Peace Song Performance by the band Healing Stream featuring new verse by Kevin Morgenstern, sung beautifully by Hailey Morgenstern on March 20th and 22nd.
8/9/15 Peace Song Performance at Backpackpalooza, the annual backpack and school supply giveaway to the next generation of peacemakers who’ll now get a fresh start at school this year.
8/2015 New Verse! – Jonny Shorr creates a beautiful new verse for the song, focusing on anti-bullying. 
10/2/15
Dana Scoby Plays Ashokan Farewell

Dana Scoby – Peace Violin

World Peace Violin receives a few blessings – and a workout – at the after-party for our In Harmony With Hope award event. The violin is constructed of diverse woods and materials collected from the sites of world conflicts and resolutions, and impregnated with materials and fragments collected from sacred sites and events connected to the peace process from around the world. Mrs. Scoby has also worked with her violin students to play a rendition of For Our Time, together.

10/2/15 Peace Song Performance – Alex Bondarev takes center stage at our ninth annual In Harmony With Hope award event, performing a new solo work, and our peace song as well, with video backdrop to close out the evening’s festivities.
9/29/16 CCMF winner Jonny Shorr rejoined Elfenworks for our In Harmony with Hope award event, and sang his verse on bullying, plus a new bridge for the song.  
1/18/17 Night of Peace at Burlingame United Methodist Church featured musical offerings including For Our Time as neighbors joined for candlelight prayer and meditation. Healing prayer was offered, and refreshments were served at this free event.
Today… This very moment, YOU are reading this webpage. You are a force for peace. Make your voice heard, and never underestimate your ripple!
 
shorr

Jonny Takes it a New Direction – Anti-Bullying

PEACE EVENTS – GOING BACKWARDS – THROUGH HISTORY

DATE EVENT
10/6/15 The song “Imagine” – one of the many anthems of folks working towards peace – was written by John Lennon, of the Beatles… so, for his 75th birthday (technically October 9th), his widow Yoko Ono attempts the world’s largest human peace sign.
5/10/15 The Mother’s Day Rally 4 Peace. Prince plays a sold-out concert, a “Rally 4 Peace,” in Baltimore. The concert features a pre-release of his song that touches on the recent unrest in Baltimore. Organizers hope the song and concert can be “a catalyst for pause and reflection following the outpouring of violence that has gripped Baltimore and areas throughout the U.S.” according to a May 6th article in the Baltimore Sun. Interested to understand the realities behind the unrest? So were we, so we sponsored research by the Institute for Policy Studies, and they just released it: The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty” with a Foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.
2/9/15
Love is the Answer

Breeze – Love is the Answer

Love is the Answer – A new song by the artist Breeze, was debuted at the Human Rights Defenders Forum at The Carter Center, opening the day’s activities and webcast. The forum had as its focus “mobilizing faith leaders on behalf of women and girls” (see Jimmy Carter’s book A Call to Action). The day wrapped up a weekend of work and covered Inclusive Leadership for Peaceful Societies, Confronting Violence Against Women in Society, and Women Leading to Prevent and Resolve Violent Conflict. The song opened with Jimmy Carter’s voice, stating “The crucial question of our time is how to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.” And there was not a dry eye in the house as they sang out “hate is the cancer… love is the answer!” The forum has its own landing page at The Carter Center’s website: http://forumonwomen.cartercenter.org.

1960s-70s The Peace Songs of the 1960s and 1970s  –  Anyone who was alive in the 1960s and 1970s will remember the peace songs of the times. From John Lennon’s simple chant, “all we are saying is give peace a chance” to Country Joe’s “The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag,” these songs influenced a generation. There are many lessons to be learned from those times, including not to vilify the young for serving – as required by law – in an unpopular war. As the saying goes, one cannot be an angry peace activist… it’s a non sequitur.
12/24
1914
Christmas Armistice – Music played an important part in a famed armistice that broke out during World War I, then called The Great War. German soldiers, who were winning, began singing carols such as Silent Night. Others across the enemy lines joined in… and peace broke out. It lasted all through Christmas day. Soldiers exchanged chocolates,  buttons, and other souvenirs. They smoked cigars together, and played soccer. They buried their dead. And they exchanged addresses, thinking they might write to each other, after the war ended. Of course there was one soldier who refused to participate in that transcendent moment…. a certain young man by the name of Adolf Hitler who would have none of it. Not everyone wants peace, of course.  But many did. Perhaps 100,000 soldiers took part in this unexpected, grass-roots peace moment, and many of them wrote home to say it was the best Christmas they’d ever experienced.  When the soldiers were finally ordered back into battle, they aimed high, so as not to kill each other that day. The commanders – thinking all this might hinder the war effort – tried for a press embargo, but there were too many joyful letters home to keep it a secret for long. The idea that war is inevitable – a form of cynicism itself – is a mind virus. You can counteract it with this powerful truth: peace can start at the grass roots, where we least expect it, and song can indeed be a catalyst. 
 1594-1595 Romeo & Juliet – Yes, the tragedy!  Playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616) penned his masterpiece, Romeo & Juliet, contrasting love with war. It may be the most well-known play in history, but it’s about more than starry eyed youth and love.  No, it’s a cautionary tale for the generations. The Capulets and Montagues have been at war for generations, and in such an environment, love dies. The Prince sums it up with perfection, and he speaks to all of us:

Where be these enemies? … See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love. And I for winking at your discords too, have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish’d.”

All of us who have ears might listen closely to these words and take them to heart. Now is a beautiful moment to take a stand for peace… for our time.

 And… Do you know of another important historic artistic or musical event that is on point to peace and that you feel should be added? We’d love to hear of it. Make your voice heard, and never underestimate your ripple!