Australia: "Seeds of Compassion" Association Holds Mid-Autumn Festival Concert at Melbourne City Hall

On September 13, 2003, Mr. Dennis Whelan and his wife Peggy from the town of Harmony in Melbourne spent an unforgettable Mid-Autumn weekend evening at Bendala City Hall. That evening, the city hall was changed into a splendid concert hall by his Chinese friends. The couple sat among about a thousand Chinese people from across Australia, and appreciated all the performances from beginning to end. Mr. Whelan told a reporter, "This is a world-class concert! I'm proud of my city."

Mr. Whelan is a city councillor of the town of Harmony in Melbourne. Early last month he received a letter from the "Seeds of Compassion" Association, inviting his wife and him to attend a Mid-Autumn Festival Concert with performances given by famous Chinese singer Guan Guimin and others. Through previous contacts, he had been familiar with these volunteers who have devoted themselves to spreading "Seeds of Compassion." They have been voluntarily serving the community all the time, offering cultural activities free of charge. Their aim is to spread harmony, kindness and tolerance that transcend the boundaries of culture, race and religion through the arts.

So his wife and he gladly accepted the invitation. Though they knew nothing about Guan Guimin, and though they did not know much about the Chinese culture and could not understand one sentence of the Chinese language, they still came to the concert.

The Liberal Party spokesman Murray Thompson MP also attended the concert and gave a speech.

The performances included dancers in bright-coloured costumes, a Ukrainian singer's expressive and lively folk songs, and the quintet of Queensland Tongsong Chorus. There were also musical instrument performances, including a solos on accordion and piano given by famous pianist and accordion player Mr. Tan Junyi, such as Lotus Flower, Yataghan Dance Music and Wave of the Danube. Dance performances included bold and unrestrained Turkish and Ukrainian folk dances, Lotus Flower Dance performed by the "Seeds of Compassion" Dance Troupe, Sydney terpsichorean Vina Lee's Flying Fairy Dance, and singing and dancing performed by Western and Chinese practitioners in both Chinese and English. There were also semi chorus, chorus, story-telling and other performances. The hosts of the concert were an excellent pair, a young Australian man in a blue Tang Dynasty costume and a Chinese young lady in red cheong-sam. They hosted in English and Chinese, respectively, and brought a festive air to the concert.

What Mr. Whelan hadn't expected were Mr. Guan Guimin's songs like My Sun, Dove, and the Guilty Man in English, and Chinese songs, like Wusuli Chanty, That is Me. He was so much impressed by Mr. Guan's singing, vast and broad, pure and appealing, full of energy, clear and bright.

"I don't know how to describe my feelings," Mr. Whelan said in an interview with the reporter. He had thought he would only be watching some Chinese culture tonight, but never expected to see such a high-quality, multi-cultural display. "I want to say, I very much appreciated tonight's performance. This could be a world-class concert." He said, "I'm proud that the performance is supported by our city government and held in our city."

Mr. Whelan then told the reporter, "These people in the Seeds of Compassion Association are very kind and devoted to serving the community. Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners." The performance allowed him to see the wonderfulness of Falun Gong. "I learnt about Falun Gong a long time ago. I once wrote to Prime Minister Howard, requesting him to help Falun Gong; I also wrote to the Chinese Consulate, in the hope that the Chinese government can stop the horrific suppression. "

When Mr. Guan Guimin sang "the Fa Rectifies Heaven and Earth" as his final song, and then sang together with Tongsong Song and Dance Troupe "Falun Dafa is good", which he had composed, the Whelans' and the rest of the audience clapped along with their singing.

Finally, Mr. Mali Thompson and Mr. Lei Zhenyu, Chairman of the Australia Chinese Culture Centre, issued awards for Mr. Guan Guimin and Mr. Tan Junyi.

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