Alternative plans in place for World Peace Day celebrations

Cowra Youth Council members at the World Peace Bell. Photo: Kelsey Sutor
Cowra Youth Council members at the World Peace Bell. Photo: Kelsey Sutor

While COVID-19 has put a stop to Cowra's traditional World Peace Day plans, a number of groups have come up with alternative ways to mark the occasion.

The Cowra Youth Council, Cowra Council, Cowra Civic Centre and Australian Chapter of the World Peace Bell Association have created a line up of activities in the hopes the community get involved in this year's event.

Alongside a number of school activities including a virtual speech competition and online forums, the Youth Council are conducting a "Ring-A-Thon" at the World Peace Bell to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

"We wanted to bring people together but because of COVID, we couldn't do a physical event," Cowra Youth Council member Stassi Austin said.

"Weare asking people to come down to the bell to ring it, during set hours and we're going to record it. Hopefully we get to 75 to tie in with the UN75 anniversary.

"It's our way of getting everyone together in a way and to bring the significance back to the Bell."

The Youth Council are also asking residents to take part in a one-minute UN75 survey at un75.online

A small ceremony will take place on World Peace Day on Monday, September 21, where the World Peace Bells in Cowra and Christchurch, NZ will be rung simultaneously as a message of solidarity following the Christchurch mosque shootings last year.

The Cowra Civic Centre will also present the world premiere of a newly commissioned music composition.

Instead of a live performance at the Centre, the orchestral work will be broadcast through sound systems rigged onto the back of military vehicles, which will be driven slowly through the residential streets of Cowra.

Following a four week residency in Cowra, composer Nicholas Gentile has been producing a recording of his new work, World Peace Suite in preparation for the launch event.

The recording will include the sound of the World Peace Bell.

The recording will be launched at 5pm on Monday with the military vehicles driving slowly through the residential streets of Cowra for three hours.

Residents are encouraged to step outside their front doors to listen to the music as it passes by taking a moment to reflect on World Peace Day.

The full recording will be made available for streaming on the Civic Centre website and Facebook page at the same time.

A map of the vehicle routes will also be available on the website.

In a recent podcast, Nicholas described the structure and themes of the orchestral suite which is written in three movements and runs for 15 minutes.

"The first movement is about the human story, the human struggle between having someone as an enemy but then the human side... the cognitive dissonance," Nicholas said.

The second movement, which was largely inspired by Cowra's Japanese Garden, is divided into four musical ideas: rebirth, growth, the cherry blossom, and finally the fleeting nature of life.

The third and final movement of the suite, described by Nicholas as "epic", is composed for full orchestra, choir and soloists with poetry lyrics by local singer songwriter, Lusi Austin.

Visit the Cowra Civic Centre website for the full recording of the composition.

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