Music in Pursuit of a Culture of Peace
An interview with CARP alumnus and composer, David Eaton.
David Eaton has been the music director of the New York City Symphony since 1985. During his tenure he has led the orchestra in concerts at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Manhattan Center, The Apollo Theater, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the United Nations. As a guest conductor and composer, he has performed his own compositions and arrangements with orchestras in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Central and South America. David recently accepted a position as Music Chairman of the Hyojeong Cultural Committee.
Through music I experienced truth, beauty, and goodness; I intuited that music was a way that God could speak to our hearts and I firmly believed that being a musician was (or could be) a way both to find tranquility and to influence the world in an altruistic fashion.
DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY TO CARP AND YOUR ACTIVITIES WITHIN CARP.
I joined CARP in 1979 when Father Moon directed that certain members of the Performing Arts Department work alongside women who had participated in the 1800 Couple’s Holy Marriage Blessing on campus to educate students about the dangers of Communist expansion.
This was a time when President Carter was seen as being weak on the issue of Soviet hegemony, so Father Moon felt that is was an important condition to mobilize Unification Church members to participate in CARP. I was one of about 40 performing arts Unification Church members that were selected to join CARP as part of this initiative that took place from 1979 through 1981.
CARP concert at California State University, Northridge, 1980.
Under then CARP president Tiger Park’s direction, we formed three bands to travel to campuses for a week or two at a time. The bands, Prime Force, Blue Tuna, and The Front Group, would perform on campus with the focus of witnessing and rallying. We also did a great deal of fundraising to support our activities.
During the summer months, we participated in 40 days of outreach at local CARP centers around the country. We launched these conditions with “Youth and Truth” workshops in Boulder, Colorado, under Tiger Park’s guidance.
WHAT WAS CARP LIKE BACK THEN?
Because Tiger Park was living in the Los Angeles area, there was quite a bit of CARP activity on campuses in California. There were CARP centers in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco.
Usually there were several students living in the CARP centers so when we arrived with our performing groups there was a great deal of excitement generated. Sometimes it was difficult to balance rehearsing, witnessing, rallying, and fundraising, but somehow we found a way to get everything done.
Evening evangelical program performance at the Columbia CARP center in New York, 1980.
In addition to our vans, we also had a large, modern bus in which we traveled across the United States as part of several concert/ witnessing tours. We would witness during the day to bring contacts to evening programs that would feature performances by our bands.
We would also participate in anti-Communist rallies on campuses from coast to coast. When there was a major church holiday, Father Moon would have our band come to New York to perform; we crisscrossed the country several times, often fundraising along the way.
WHAT WERE THE BIG ISSUES ON CAMPUS BACK THEN?
In the 1970s, there were many young people who were greatly affected by the “sexual revolution” and the so-called dawning of “The Age of Aquarius.” As a result there was a sense of idealism among “seekers” who set out to find peace and love. Music acted as the soundtrack for that era and for my generation – the so-called baby-boomers.
Our love of music became a quasi-religion. “Make love, not war” was our credo; sex and drugs were our sacraments, and Rock and Roll was the music that accompanied the liturgy.
The spirit of rebellion and defiance was everywhere, especially in music. The “Free Love” generation and its music literally rocked the suburban comforts of post-World War II America; a deconstructionist mindset engulfed the period, challenging traditional views of family, society, authority, sexuality, art, politics, entertainment, and religion. Campuses were seen to be particularly vulnerable to this new ideology.
The big issue that Father Moon was concerned about was Communist expansion in Central and South America. The late 1970s and early 1980s was a period when there was heightened Communist activity in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
David Eaton demonstrating against communism at Georgia State University in Atlanta, 1980.
There were many Communist activists on campuses and with college faculty members becoming increasingly entrenched in left-wing ideologies, there was a great deal of sympathy for Communist expansion in the Western hemisphere. Father Moon correctly understood that the dissolution of traditional values presented a problem for society.
When we held anti-Communist rallies, the atmosphere could be highly charged, and it wasn’t uncommon to have eggs thrown at us while we were performing. I still have egg on one of my musical instrument cases from a rally in Madison, Wisconsin.
Of course, our movement was also viewed as being highly controversial, and though we were frequently accused for being “interlopers,” we felt that we were doing a service to our country by alerting students to the threat of Soviet expansion. Since this was a major concern for Father Moon, we felt dedicated to the effort to “wake up” the student population.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR CARPIES TODAY?
Read, read, and read some more. Sir Francis Bacon made the assertion that “reading makes a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man.” He wasn’t wrong, either. (But he may have been a bit chauvinist).
The study of the humanities is important, because the humanities have the ability to “humanize.” Many sociologists argue otherwise, but my experience and intuition tell me that the great artistic achievements of the past can provide many insights to the human condition. Schiller called this “aesthetic education.”
David Eaton performs with actor/singer Robert Davi and the New York City Symphony at the United Nations’ 70th Anniversary concert on June 30, 2015.
The truth/beauty/goodness paradigm as espoused in the Divine Principle has great value in pursuit of a culture of peace. Get to know your cultural patrimony (the things that one generation has inherited from its ancestors). Reading will give you a greater depth of understanding about history, art, education, politics, media, economics, etc. Reading will give you perspective.
Since the “RP” in the CARP acronym means “Research of Principles,” it’s important to develop greater comprehension of the principles we espouse as well as those that we object to.
Reading also increases one’s focus and discipline; it fosters long-term thinking and longer attention spans. It’s also important to read daily from the “eight text books” that True Parents have bequeathed to us.
Every time I read Father’s words, I come away with some new insight about God, the providence and the importance of staying connected to our heavenly parent. This is an important part of understanding our cultural patrimony. When we witness, we need to have a firm understanding of our beliefs as well as the ability to defend them.
Check out some further reading by David Eaton on Applied Unificationsim, a blog of Unification Theological Seminary (UTS).