Fourteen hundred children from some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods of San Francisco and Oakland…
Four hundred volunteers, many working months to create one magical day for these children…
A shy Italian friar thrust out of seclusion by his golden voice that has made him a singing sensation…
All centered on an extraordinary vision of transforming children through loving respect and kindness.
A Concert for the Children
On October 30, 2013, it all came together in an unprecedented event headlined by Friar Alessandro Brustenghi, the Franciscan monk from Assisi, Italy, whose golden tenor voice has made him an international recording star with Decca Records.
At the invitation of Murshida Carol Weyland Conner, founder of the Francis in the Schools program, Friar Alessandro came directly to the San Francisco Bay Area on his first trip to America to give a free concert for these children.
The concert took place in the stunning Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, where Friar Alessandro sang songs associated with the life of Francis of Assisi. He was accompanied by the White Horse Chorale and the White Horse Youth Chorale. Between songs, the White Horse Players dramatized scenes from Francis’s life.
A Joyful Faire
After the concert, the children were led by “pied pipers” to a beautiful park by Lake Merritt where they discovered a colorful Umbrian Renaissance Faire being staged just for them.
There they were given a nutritious lunch and joyously took part in games, dancing, face painting, flower arranging, and storytelling, and were given a tasty gift treat as they departed.
The volunteers worked tirelessly to plan and stage this event with the hope that this loving experience would inspire the children to remember and share Francis’s timeless principles of compassion and selfless giving to others.
It was a day when “the air was filled with happiness”, as one attendee described it, a day when nearly 2,000 people of different races, religions, and ages shared what may be Francis’s favorite principle of all – Joy.