Guest Post by Kathryn Amdahl, SFLA Hildegard Art Fellow
My name is Kathryn and I am a junior at Eastern Washington University studying Piano Performance. I was a Hildegard Art Fellow during the 2020-2021 school year. This SFLA Fellowship encourages student artists to incorporate our pro-life values into our art. As part of the Fellowship, each fellow does a special project.
After much brainstorming , I decided to host a pro-life themed recital. Months before, a good composer friend of mine had approached me about playing her solo piano piece about abortion. I had already said yes, so I had one piece. Now for the others…
I first went on YouTube and after a bit of searching, I found another pro-life piece. I thought that those two would be enough, but near the end of my planning, I came across one more that I loved and had to add (much to the dismay of one of my composers). The two I found on YouTube had to be arranged, so one of my composer friends graciously agreed to complete that part of the project.
By the time we had finished orchestrating the pieces (including the two extra hymns we added), we had a crew of musicians that consisted of a pianist, four vocalists, one violist, and one violinist. In addition, my boss at the Catholic Church (I play piano for them during their Masses) had found a luminary stamp which had a baby inside of a heart shape. We decided to create 61 luminary bags to light for the recital, one bag for each of the million plus babies lost since 1973.
My priest agreed to lead a couple of prayers, one being the Litany of Life from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Finally, everything was together… until a lovely surprise twist. We also had a baby item drive running at the church in the days leading up to the recital. The priest had communicated to the parish that we were looking for baby items of all sorts – anything from diapers, wipes, baby clothes etc. to donate to local pregnancy help organizations.
After much anticipation and planning, our hard work came to fruition on June 6th. We had an audience of 60-70 people in attendance and many parishioners spoke to the priest afterwards saying that they wanted this to become a yearly event. Each of the songs touched people’s hearts, many in ways I did not anticipate. A couple women approached me and said that they cried during my recital for the several babies they lost during miscarriages. Others were simply encouraged by young people bringing God into the pro-life equation through music.
By the end of the recital, the foyer of the church was brimming with baby donations! I have a PT Cruiser and we were barely able to make everything fit. The final numbers for donations included:
- 4,724 individual baby wipes
- 2,484 individual baby diapers
- 1,591 fluid ounces of formula
- at least 30 different baby outfits
- and many other baby necessities ranging from soap to teethers.
I selected eight different pregnancy help organizations and women’s help resources in Spokane, WA and Coeur d’Alene, ID to receive part of what we were blessed with. We were able to bestow upon each center many items that were on their wish list and therefore ease their financial burden.
Overall, this was a huge success! The Hildegard Art Fellowship taught me that music can be combined with my other dreams/passions quite easily. Music and pro-life activism is a unique combination because music causes people to listen, even if they wish that they could block it out. It penetrates the soul, causing one to ponder life in a different way. Many walked away from the Recital for Life encouraged, but also more aware of the evils of abortion and just how many are lost.
The Recital for Life was both a contemplative event but also a war cry of sorts. We cannot remain silent any longer! It is time to take a stand for what is right, for those who cannot speak for themselves. If we know that something is wrong, it is our moral obligation to do something about it, no matter the discomfort or pain it may put us through.