Endorsements & Testimonials

Endorsements & Testimonials


As reviewed by the New York Times on June 30th, 2012, 

“Nations United in Song: Rhythms of One World Festival, From Friendship Ambassadors”

The inaugural festival in June 2012 featured a series of choral performances by adult, youth, and children’s choirs from Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, Norway, and the United States. 

Endorsement from New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg: 

It is a great pleasure to welcome everyone to the Rhythms of One World 2012 International Choral Festival, hosted by Friendship Ambassadors Foundation. New York is an international city- a place where people of every conceivable background live side by side, speaking more than 200 languages. With performances at venues across Manhattan, a concert commemorating the signing of the United Nations Charter, and a variety of workshops offered throughout the week, this festival is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the cultural diversity that makes our City so great.

On behalf of the City of New York, I applaud FAF for its unwavering efforts to build mutual understanding between all peoples. Please accept best wishes for a terrific week and continued success.

Excerpts from the Opening Remarks by the President of the 66th Seesion of the General Assembly of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser: 

I am honored to join you today to celebrate a decisive moment in the history of international diplomacy and development: the signing of the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter was signed in the wake of a truly devastating war that claimed the lives of millions of people. And events such as this bring the Charter to life… In this hall today, through the gift of music, the young artists gathered before us will showcase how our youth are capable of leading the way to a future of mutual understanding and cultural harmony. As we celebrate, let us rise together and work harder to make it real and true once more, especially for the youth of the world.” 

(To read the full script, click here.)

Excerpts from the Opening Remarks by the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Romania to the UN, Her Excellency Ambassador Simona Miculescu:

Together, in this room, we will be united by music, which is the only universal language, transcending ideologies, differences of all kinds, and all that divides us. By the spirit of youth, that still rests in all of us – be it young in age or young in spirit, today we come together in a symbolic place that hosts the largest family known by modern history, the family of 193 nations! And what a familyl this is! We should come now with open hearts to welcome those who will sing to us and remind us that we should not forget to join hands and “sing along” more. The title of the festival- “The Rhythms of One World” – is an inspiring reminder of the spirit of the UN Charter, of the symbolic nature of this very place, and is also an invitation to celebrate Unity through Diversity, the same as different notes can create rhythms and harmonies.” 

(To read the full script, click here.)

From our New York Audiences: 

The Consulate General takes this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in producing The Rhythms of One World 2012 involving the Signal Hill Alumni Choir in June 2012 in New York City. The events were impactful and well received by the audience and we received many positive comments. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to showcase the talent of Trinidad and Tobago.

– Consul General Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam, Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in New York

I thank and congratulate you again for an awesome show last night: electrifying, inspiring, in good taste, everything! Wow!”  

 – Alexandru Ciorobea, Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN/ Second Secretary

On behalf of the NGO Relations, thank you for a great experience!”   

– Maria-Luisa Chavez, UN Department of Public Information/ Chief, NGO Relations

Congratulations to FAF for the amazing concert yesterday evening! My family and the rest of the audience truly enjoyed the international music. I particularly enjoyed the finale song. Wishing you and FAF more success!

– Marienette Abadilla, UN Department of Public Information

This year Patrick and Yin-Chu from Friendship Ambassadors Foundation have gone well beyond my greatest expectations by underwriting this exciting evening of Rhythms of One World here at the Avery Fisher Hall. I am very grateful for their outstanding efforts, and I want to thank Gary Fry, the Festival Artistic Director of this evening’s performance as well as the wonderful seven choirs who are here from all corners of the world.

– Charles Hitchcock, NGO DPI Executive Committee/ Chair

A bravura performance last night by all, well-deserving of the standing ovation! Congrats, and thanks!

– Aaron Etra, NGO DPI Executive Committee

What a concert! My wife and I were so impressed and delighted by last night’s event. Each of the groups had such a distinctive style and the concert was beautifully organized and choreographed. The massed effect was really impressive, too. I was so happy for you and, if may be permitted to say, proud of you. What you have accomplished here, and I gather in other ways, too, is remarkable… And what you are doing is important and wonderful.

– Dr. Nils Vigeland, Manhattan School of Music/ Chair, Composition Department

From the 2012 Participating Directors: 

A highly exciting and energising event, Rhythms of One World Festival provides a unique opportunity for choirs from around the world to make music together. The event joins people and different cultures in joyous celebration, performing in fantastic venues. My Choir will long remember the concert in UN Headquarters- right up there with Westminster Abbey or Notre-Dame, Paris! The concerts and workshops organised for individual choirs were a real bonus too. I highly recommend this event- it can really change lives! 

– Dr. Philip Matthias, Director/ University of Newcastle Chamber Choir from Australia

No choir should miss the opportunity to take part in your Rhythms of One World, an organization that promotes peace and understanding through the universal language of music. What an amazing musical experience. You gave us the opportunity to sing in some of the most famous New York venues. Everything was handled in a very professional manner. We all appreciated the thought and organization you put into this first TROW event. I would like to add that our choir was thrilled to be under the direction of Gary. He inspired us with his skills and his total commitment to FAF. THANK YOU GARY!!!! I myself would not miss this opportunity should it come to pass. Once again, thank you from myself and all the members of the choir.”          

– Jo Masters, Vice President/ County Town Singers from Canada

CONGRATULATIONS! Voices International was very pleased to participate. I was personally very pleased as well to work with you in such a mutually-supportive and harmonious manner over the last 10 months or so.”                    

– Steve Anderson, President/ Voices International from Luxembourg

I was there and it was a very special experience. The choirs all gave there best and the finale song was fabulous with all 350 voices from around the world. Thank you FAF and all who made this festival such a huge success.

– Peggy Jenks, Voices International/ Founder

Thank you for the wonderful days in NY! We had a fantastic time! The Girls woudl love to meet the other choirs again!”        

– Elin Vatn, Tour Manager/ Norwegian Girls Choir from Norway

I must begin by thanking you and the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation for a choir tour that proved to be most memorable for my choristers. We saw and heard many wonderful things. My accommodations were especially lovely. The food was varied and good. The directors’ luncheon could not have been nicer. Our performance for PS 249 was one of the highlights of our trip. We loved performing for those delightful young people.

– Selina Midkiff, Founder & Director/ Appalachian Children’s Chorus from USA

To read the Appalachian Children’s Chorus report on the Festival, click here: http://www.wvacc.org/articles/acc-represented-west-virginia-united-states-new-york-city

The Kearsney College Choir (South Africa) were honored to take part in this inaugural music festival in New York. The event was well organized and ran as smooth as any choir director could hope for. The performance venues in New York City were outstanding and the experience of performing in the Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center) and the United Nations General Assembly Hall will linger into eternity with our group. This festival is about putting aside our cultural differences and making music – together! The spirit of New York and the thrills that the city provide were the perfect setting for this week-long celebration of music with concerts, workshops, massed choir events, and social exchanges. The Friendship Ambassadors Foundation were the perfect hosts and their staff were friendly, professional, and accommodating. There were guides and chaperones with us throughout our stay, the accommodation arrangements were well considered, and the packages were all-inclusive (sightseeing, all meals, concert tickets, public transport and private coaches). I completely recommend this experience to choirs of all levels – top choirs get to perform in marvelous venues, aspiring choirs get to learn from colleagues, exchange ideas and perform alongside more advanced groups without the stress and disappointment associated with competitions, and new friendships/contacts were made with the possibility of future collaborations and visits. My choir would have made this a month-long affair if they had the chance. Send in your applications TODAY!!!!!

– Bernard Kruger, Director/ Kearsney College Choir from South Africa

“The Concert at the Lincoln Center was an eye-opener; a massive auditorium, balconies and boxes and over 1600 people who came to watch the concert.  The boys and the other 6 choirs, invited to the Rhythms of One World Festival, were to be involved in an opening number and then each choir was to present three numbers of their repertoire before ending off with another world premiere of a song especially composed for the festival.  It was quite an inspiring sight, seeing all the choirs onstage and singing so beautifully after just two rehearsals.  Friendships tentatively formed, at Tuesday’s mass rehearsal, were ‘cemented’ after this concert.”

This was always going to be the highlight of the first week on tour – the climax of all the preparation as well as the combined rehearsals for the massed choir performance in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. There was a distinct irony that the seven choirs drawn from all over the world were working together on a world premier of the “Song of Peace” by Jean Sibelius and arranged by Gary Fry in the very hall where representatives of 165 nations of the world had been discussing “Counter terrorism” only twenty four hours previously. Today was however about furthering the cause of peace and co-operation amongst nations and people.

Early morning endorsement of the “Rhythms of One World” Festival and for the Kearsney choir came in the form of today’s New York Times whose Vivienne Schweitzer was reviewing the performances during the week. She writes, “The energy level rose dramatically during the final presentation by the male Kearsney College choir from South Africa. In red boots, black trousers and shirts with animal-print patterns, the choristers offered a vividly choreographed lineup that included traditional Zulu songs …” More support came in the form of Old boys and their wives, some of whom had travelled for hours to Manhattan for the performance. Kearsney parents, relatives and friends were also in attendance for the concert which started early afternoon on a swelteringly hot New York summer’s day. 

Kearsney was the last choir in the line-up of seven and they chose to perform three of their songs from the “Music of the Religions” repertoire. The third, Ichokwadi had the audience clapping and rejoicing, with Africans in the audience ululating their approval and appreciation. The concert concluded with the massed choir rendition of Rhythms of One World, which involved audience participation as well. The message of international co-operation and peace and the power of music to get this across was evident in the standing ovation given by the audience.

– Excerpts from Tour Blog by Elwyn van den Aardweg, Headmaster, Kearsney College (To read the full blog of Kearsney College Choir 2012 USA Tour with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, click here.)

And, most importantly, hear what some of the Choristers have to say!

Q: “What is the Highlight of your participation in this year’s Festival?

Singing at Avery Fisher Hall, and the boat cruise was awesome!”     

– Gregory Newton Keal, Kearsney College Choir from South Africa

Only one? There are so many it’s hard to decide… I would say the concert at the UN and going backstage hearing the security guards singing “Oo oooo oooooo”

– Elisa Cutulle, Voices International from Luxembourg

The moment which will be etched in my memory and ears forever will be when we sang with the 7 choirs (350 people) together the “Song of Peace” and “Rhythms of One World,” just still remembering it… gives me chills! Thank you for this amazing experience!!!”     

– Nati Boffi, Voices International from Luxembourg

I loved each and every moment spent during the festival. The chance to visit the wonderful city of New York, the excitement of singing in “Good Morning America” at Times Square at 7 am! The happiness when I first hear our 350 voices singing together at the rehearsal, and then in the concerts… I cannot even describe it! The enriching experience of meeting, talking, singing with people from all over the world. The feeling of joy and freedom during the cruise. Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart!”    

 – Cristiana Maria Serena Malgarini, Voices International from Luxembourg

‘Wo-oh, wo-o-oh.’ It has changed my life. Also performing at the UN was damn magical.

– Lachlan Collins, University of Newcastle Chamber Choir from Australia

New York was fabulous. I will never forget singing at the United Nations with all the remarkable choirs. Under Gary’s direction we really were one voice. The joy in the faces of the young people reminded me they can teach us much about acceptance. Thank you so very much for this unforgettable experience.

– Peggy Fox-Waugh, County Town Singers from Canada

Being a part of a group of 7 choirs all over the world singing “Rhythms of One World,” it was amazing, extraordinary, unforgettable, espeically in such a unique place as the UN!

– Maria Jose La Fuente, Voices International from Luxembourg

What an amazing opportunity. It was something I will remember for the rest of my lif. Getting to see and listen the other groups was an abdolute treat.

– Roy Gaal, County Town Singers from Canada


Festival Highlights in Photos