Russia Overview: Sacred Fire
St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec 91 - Jan 92
Sacred Fire, held in St. Petersburg, Russia, was the first Arts Festival
organized by International Festival of the Arts. It was also hailed as
the first East West Festival of its kind. Sacred Fire was supported by
the Mayor of St. Petersburg and the City Council of People's Deputies.
Three hundred and seventy-five participants from thirty-two countries
interacted with over three hundred Russian artists.
25,000 Tickets Sold
Tickets for festival activities were purchased by twenty-five thousand
people. At the closing Gala performance, Russian President, Boris Yeltsin,
sent a message of thanks and appreciation for this "significant event."
Proceeds from ticket sales were donated to specific orphan programs in
the city. Children in four orphanages received two tons of clothing. In
addition, a further twenty tons of food, clothes, and medical supplies
were transported across Europe for the needy. Festival participants made
daily visits to hospitals and orphanages.
Tickets for the Children's Festival sold out within hours of being available,
with over one thousand attending daily. Moral and spiritual values were
shared with the children through music, drama, puppets, and other creative
First Christmas Celebration in 70 Years
Sacred Fire's Christmas Celebration coincided with the first public recognition
of that event in over seventy years. Two performances of 'The Scroll',
a work by Canadian composer Bruce Stacey, were performed by the St. Petersburg
Radio and Television Orchestra, along with Russian choir, soloists, and
Classical Festival in Former Communist HQ
The Classical Festival opened with performances in the former communist
party headquarters. The New English Orchestra and American tenor, Timothy
Bentch, performed with the St. Petersburg Chamber Orchestra. Audiences
were moved to
tears with arias from Handel's Messiah, heard for the first time in seven
Fine Art Exhibition
A fine art exhibition drew together many international and Russian painters
for a very significant exchange. A painting by Swedish artist Janeric
Johansson representing the power of forgiveness had a profound effect.
Dr. Oz Guiness, Director of the Williamsburg Charter Foundation, gave
an historic address to the St. Petersburg City Council on Human Rights
and Religious Freedom.
Dialogue & Partnership
Businessmen, educators, medical workers, and other professionals met with
their Russian counterparts for dialogue and ongoing cooperation and partnership.
Message to Peoples Deputies Televised
Colin Harbinson, founder and CEO of International Festival of the Arts,
was invited to address the full assembly of People's Deputies at the Marianski
Palace. Part of his encouraging message was televised on the evening news
a potential audience of over twenty-million people.
Over 100 Children Adopted
One festival participant was invited to help the Russian government draw
up legislation on adoption. Well in excess of one hundred orphan children
have subsequently been adopted into loving homes through organizations
as a result of Sacred Fire.
Kirov Ballet Exchange
Participants spent time with the director of the famous Kirov Ballet School.
They were invited back to dialogue with the staff and dance students.
Over $30,000 Raised For New Orphan Center
The New English Orchestra raised over $30,000 to partner in the establishment
of a Russian charitable organization. A building was renovated to house
this new Center For Orphan Tracking and Care.
Broadcast to 200 Million
Following Russian media coverage of the Festival, a film called 'Now and
Forever' was produced by a St. Petersburg Television Company. It was broadcast
to a potential television audience of over 200 million people.
Following the festival, IFA was instrumental in arranging for children
of highly placed Russian government leaders to study in Colleges in Canada
and the United States.
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