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The Power of Music: A Gathering of the LLLInternational Division

Toshi Jolliffe
Heisdorf, Luxembourg
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2008, pp. 14-15

The International Division (ID) covers a vast geographic area with many languages and cultures. LLLI Conferences have been a precious opportunity for Leaders of this Division to get together, and at the 2007 LLLI Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA, the ID organized a reception with three impressive parts. Let me tell you about this unforgettable experience.

"LLL a 50 ans!" by LLL France

The reception began with a song from the French Leaders, "LLL a 50 ans!" (LLL is 50 years old!). The familiar music melted in people's hearts, and the wonderful lyrics delighted everyone. The song was about how LLL started and expanded and what we hope to achieve in the future (see sidebar). Who created the song? Valérie Marchandeau, an Associate Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (ACLA) and Board member for LLL France. She was inspired by the French song "La bohème," and she put her own French lyrics to it with the title as "LLL a 50 ans!" When some representatives of the Leader Accreditation Department of LLL France sang it at the LLL France Leaders' Seminar, it touched many hearts, and LLL France decided to perform the song at the 2007 LLLI Conference.

Several Leaders worked hard to translate "LLL a 50 ans!" into English. Charlotte Lucas (LLL Côte Basque and LLL Eki Alde, France), Kay Denney (LLL Paris Sud, France), Diane Beckman (ACLA-at-Large for LLL France), and Margaret Brautigam (former member of LLL Yvelines Ouest, France) helped Valérie adapt the song to English, and they also sang it at the ID reception. The Founders who had heard about the song wanted to hear it, so the French Leaders performed it again right after the Founders' Tea and also at the musical jam session of the World Faire.

Some Areas may want to sing "LLL is 50 years old!" in their own languages. LLL France will be delighted if this song spreads in the same way as La Leche League has become such a global organization within 50 years. Congratulations to Valérie and LLL France on creating such a marvelous song!

Sami's Arigato (Thank You) Speech

As some of you may remember, Japanese Leader Sami Tsuchida was involved in a terrible train crash in Japan in April 2005 (see LEAVEN December 2005-January 2006, page 133). When Sami was in critical condition, many Leaders from all over the world sent her encouraging messages. Luckily, she made an amazing recovery and decided to participate in the 2007 LLLI Conference and thank the Leaders for their support. When Yanet Olivares de Saiz (Director of the International Division) heard about Sami's wish, she offered her an opportunity to make a speech at the ID reception.

Although English is not Sami's language, she made an excellent bilingual speech and explained her deep gratitude. Toward the end, she needed to pause after each sentence because the entire audience applauded every time Sami spoke. She concluded her speech with:

I learned something important from you. LLL is a big international family, and Leaders care about each other. Thank you for all the support you have given me. I look forward to working with you. Arigato (thank you).

"I Am a Thousand Winds" Concert

It was at one of my first LLLI Conferences that I heard a Leader singing beautiful songs with the piano accompaniment of another Leader. The singer was Welda Hoerz (former member of the LLLI Board of Directors), and the pianist was Nancy Spahr (former Director of the Leader Accreditation Department). The image stayed in my mind, and I always hoped to hear them perform together again.

When I heard the Japanese song, "I Am a Thousand Winds" (see sidebar), I was deeply attracted to it. The song reassures us that a person who no longer exists in this world will still be there in spirit and protect those who are left behind. It has been translated into several languages and sung in different countries. This international background gave me an idea: Why not ask Welda and Nancy to perform "I Am a Thousand Winds" at the 2007 LLLI Conference in Chicago? I contacted them, and we started planning. After some discussion, we decided to hold a concert at the ID reception and add two lullabies. Lynne Coates of Oregon, USA joined us with her recorder, and Nancy gave a solo performance of a famous work by Chopin.

The lyrics of "I Am a Thousand Winds" prompted us to dedicate this concert to the loving memory of two Leaders, Ruth Pantland and Cristina Barraza de Carles. Ruth had been an LLL South Africa Leader for a long time and was the Administrator of the Leader Accreditation Department for LLL Great Britain when she passed away (see LEAVEN April-May-June 2006 page 41). Those who were privileged to work with Ruth valued her gentle and calm manner. Cristina was the lone Leader from Panama. During her life she radiated energy, and her death was a great loss. We wanted to remember Ruth and Cristina by singing "I Am a Thousand Winds."

At the reception we had a little table to display photos of those who had recently passed away. Along with photos of Ruth and Cristina was one of Wolfram Hoerz, Welda's husband, who died in the same week as Ruth. Another photo was of my father, who passed away shortly before the Conference. When he died, Welda wrote to me, "I shall sing ‘I Am a Thousand Winds' for you, too, in Chicago." It was a moving song, especially for those who had recently lost a loved one. I am deeply grateful to Welda for singing it. What Sami said in her speech is so true: LLL Leaders care about each other. When the concert ended, Welda and I held each other tightly.

It was amazing to see the power of music at the International Division reception. Music has no borders and unites people beautifully, regardless of language or culture. Many special thanks to those who made it possible to hold such a memorable reception.

LLL is 50 Years Old!

Listen to the story,
My children; you'll find it
Difficult to believe in.
Breastfeeding in those days
Was like wand'ring in a maze.
No one took time to care
That mothers in distress
Were blamed for empty breasts.
And so they felt unable
To nourish their babies.
Mothers' feelings denied.
Who was there to listen?

Refrain
LLL, LLL,
Seven voices, one dream, a reality.
LLL, LLL,
Fifty years of humanity.

In Nineteen Fifty-Six
Seven mothers united.
They started believing,
Understanding and sharing
The art of breastfeeding
From their kitchen tables,
With babies in their laps.
Moving on step by step,
They forged a dream of seeing
Consciously, confidently,
Babes in their mothers' arms,
Where they really belong

Refrain
Listen to the story,
My children; please do not
Forget . . . oh, how I hope
That in a hundred years
The whole world will have grown.
Nourished and nurtured and
Breastfed and homebred and
Guided and respected
By mothers and fathers,
Our children, our progeny
Will be the ones who light
Up all humanity.

Refrain

I am a thousand winds

Don't stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

I am a thousand winds.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamond glint on snow,
A thousand winds that blow.

Don't stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.
I am swift rush of birds in flight,
Soft stars that shine at night.

I am a thousand winds,
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamond glint on snow,
A thousand winds that blow.

Don't stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

I am a thousand winds.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamond glint on snow,
A thousand winds that blow.

I am a thousand winds,
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamond glint on snow,
A thousand winds that blow.

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