Reality Check

Since when is self-promotion, service to mankind?

These days the “Effects of Music on Peacemaking” should really be included in courses for music schools. “How to get famous and raise money on bogus claims” could be a good subject for a research paper where there is not enough real evidence that music makes peace to last one hour’s lecture, let alone five minutes.

As mentioned previously, it is laughable, even a disgrace, for getting credit, no less prizes, publicity, honorariums, etc.,  for allegedly making peace with a few non-Christians in a music school.

There are MANY good music schools in Jerusalem where Jews and Arabs study routinely WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.  The Magnificat is constantly magnifying itself OVER NOTHING.

From the June 2010 program of the  Conservatorio Rossini, Pesaro:


One of the most important encounters of this dense and qualified calendar of the “Final Concerts 2010”  will see tudents united from the Conservatory Rossini and Istituto Musicale “Magnificat” of Jerusalem. 

In the “Magnificat”  Catholic students, Jews and Muslims live peaceably and study together in concord,  A peaceful island as a rare example in a   so troubled Holy Land.

The founder of “The Magnificat Institute School of Music”, Jerusalem, is Father Armando Pierucci, whom the Conservatorio Rossini had the honor of counting among  faculty body who says, “there are things that only a madman can do, or a monk “… (indeed, self-promote over nothing!!)

…And everyone from famous musicians, Father Armando, faculty of the Conservatory with commendable lengthy efforts have prepared the students, joined by a common trait: the commitment to generosity and humility with which is rendered a great service to mankind.”

Uno degli incontri più significativi di questo denso e qualificato calendario dei “Concerti Finali 2010” vedrà uniti studenti del Conservatorio “Rossini” e dell’Istituto Musicale “Magnificat” di Gerusalemme. Al “Magnificat” studiano e convivono pacificamente, in concordia, studenti cattolici, ebrei e musulmani: isola felice e faro esemplare in una terra Santa, ma tanto tormentata.

Fondatore del “The Magnificat Institute School of Music”a Gerusalemme è padre Armando Pierucci, che il Conservatorio “Rossini” ha avuto l’onore di annoverare tra i suoi docenti di organo e che di sé dice: “ci sono delle cose che soltanto un matto può fare, oppure un frate”… E tutti, dai musicisti più noti, a padre Armando, ai docenti del Conservatorio che con lodevole e prolungato impegno hanno preparato gli studenti, legati da un comune tratto: la generosità e l’umiltà dell’impegno con
cui viene reso un servizio grande all’uomo.”

More silliness from the propaganda machine of the Franciscans:

“La scuola Magnificat, da lui fondata e diretta…per offrire un futuro professionale ai giovani della Terra Santa e per contribuire alla pace all’integrazione tra le persone di diverse etnie e religioni…” “The school that he founded to give a professional future to the youth of the Holy Land and for the contribution of peace for the integration of people of diverse ethnic groups and religions…”

The astonishing part is that St. Francis would have never promoted himself to such an extent, if at all. It just seems that there is no end to the marvels of having about 100 regular music students, learning an instrument or two, nothing special in reality.  Now, the peace monk will receive yet another prize in August, the “Premio Adriatico Mediterreneo”, to add to his collection of “silver medal of the Republuc”, “Premio Vallesina”, “Knight of the Republic”, etc. for WHAT??? *

The latest is “giving hope to the kids in the drug ridden alleyways of Jerusalem that they can have a music profession”. OK, music is notorious for being a bad career choice. On the whole, only a small percentage of kids learning music anywhere are interested and/or can aspire to doing it for a living. The proof was at their Tavasani Competition 2010 where it was admitted that after high school the students simply drop out. ** A second income may be all right but not for the chief provider of a family, that is, if a music teacher can actually find work.

A career in performing, UGH, forget about it. Or at least cruise the youtube and see what the competition is, 6 year olds playing piano and violin concertos by the THOUSANDS. THEY are the young musicians that one competes with in international competitions. Only in blatantly rigged home contests can one be certain of getting a prize or not. And then, what use is it if there are no real competitors or if the results are simply a result of politicking?

The idea of course is the more prizes their mascot of peace racks up, the more credibility to the wonders of the schooland by extension, more money.

“Patrizia Casagrande, aveva sottolineato l’importanza del lavoro di padre Armando a favore della pace e della crescita culturale dei giovani di Gerusalemme.” “Patrizia Casagrande, had emphasized the importance of the job of father Armando in favor of peace and of cultural and professional development for the young people of Jerusalem.”

I don’t know what first hand knowledge of the situtation this lady has had but perhaps it would be a good idea to make a poll and simply ask the average person on the street in the Holy Land if they ever heard of the Magnificat, let alone were aware of its stupendous peace-making powers.

Again, HOW does one make peace with ONLY a handful of non-Christians? Furthermore, where is there PROOF that peace is actually happening, maybe the opposite? This is a fuzzy proposition, one view is just as valid as the other. Why the first, because clergy would never stretch the truth, inflate numbers, conduct rigged elections or competitions, because they would never accept recognition for what they never did and don’t even remotely deserve?

I do NOT have a problem if people want to support their little farm boy made good in the Holy Land. But tell the TRUTH while you’re at it. You can ask your compadres for money giving them the EXACT conditions.

However, do NOT use the Church as a platform to promote yourselves and even worse to raise money on less than honest premises.  It can’t be imagined HOW demoralizing it is for the students to witness this type of behavior, that is, the ends justifying the means.  The administration does not have to be publicity gluttons, while dishing out credit for work done, not by merit, but by the amount of political usefulness.

I would recommend to those getting high over in the Italian boot repeating superlatives to each other and dreaming up yet more fantastic claims for the school (no compliment seemingly too big or outrageous), a STRONG dose of a REALITY CHECK.

Please be informed according to Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time”. This is even exponentially the case in the days of instant cyber communication.

I require, nay, DEMAND that the Church behave according to the way it teaches. The ends DO NOT justify the means. Misrepresentation, that is, making people believe what is simply not true or even partially so, is WRONG AND BAD. You all have enough money not to descend to such cheapness. You can provide a good future to the children FIRST by giving good example. EVERYTHING issues from the first cause, even good music comes from a good and honest mind.

Oh and incidentally the Christian religion is NOT monothestic unless the Church fathers forgot this little detail. Christians worship the Trinity.

That’s what makes them different from the other two monothesistic religions in the Holy Land. Unless, of course, the next step in cultural pluralism is a mixing of religions as well. Please count me out for both.

 “L’inaugurazione del Festival, composto da 100 eventi e con 200 artisti coinvolti, sarà proprio con il coro della scuola di padre Armando. A Gerusalemme il 29 maggio l’Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana eseguirà lo “Stabat Mater” di Pergolesi ed altre musiche sacre delle tre religioni monoteiste accompagnata dalle voci del coro del Magnificat.  ***

“they will perform the “Stabat Mater” of Pergolesi and other music sacred to the three monotheistic religions…”

“Adriatico Mediterraneo” si concluderà in autunno ad Ancona con la consegna a padre Armando del Premio del Festival per il suo impegno a favore della convivenza e della promozione delle diverse culture.”

“blah, blah… for his engagement in coexistence and promotion of diverse cultures.”  Hey, maybe there is SOMETHING to the rather perverse mixing of cultures and by extension, religions…

* When there were about 100 regular students in the school in 2006 (on the average this has remained until now) this was sported online: “Gli studenti, oggi, sono circa 180” “The students today, (that is, June 22, 2006) are about 180.”

This is the article that describes the peace monk on the occasion of his receiving the silver medal of the Republic and some money too for “his” school”. No doubt, calling him one of the greatest composers and living organists is supposed to be an added bonus. If this is a matter of opinion (whose?) the cats on my back fence are also great musicians, say I.

“Padre Armando Pierucci è considerato uno dei più grandi compositori e suonatori d’organo in Europa, ma è soprattutto il creatore di un istituto che prepara musicisti, ebrei e palestinesi, che si esibiscono nelle chiese di Terra Santa”. The last part “above all, the creator of an institute that prepares musicians, Jews and Palestinians, to perform in the churches of the Holy Land”.

There are very few musicians who can succeed in two professions, let alone three. Rachmaninov spoke of the Russian adage of chasing two rabbits and catching neither. He of course went after three–composing, conducting and pianism–and excelled in all.

How do we know this is true? NOT by self-generated hearsay. There are recordings, history of concerts and witnesses, reviews by experts and peers. When one is supposed to be one of the “greatest living organists”, where are the recordings and concert programs?

Elizabeth Roloff, a truly great organist, used to give Bach concerts regularly in Jerusalem for decades, spinning off one fugue after another. How does someone else have the nerve to put himself on the same level,  and the public is supposed to believe because it comes from the mouth of clergy? “Ha un grande valore, riconosciuto da tutti, l’opera di convivenza, tolleranza, rispetto, condivisione portata avanti da padre Armando, tanto più in una terra martoriata dall’odio e dalle divisioni etniche e religiose.”

“(The school) has great value, recognized by all, the work of coexistence, respect, sharing in front of father Armando, so much in a land torn apart by hatred and the divisions between ethnic groups and religions.”

The above is also a matter of opinion, like great organ playing and compositions, unsupported facts. The opposite view, by extension, is also valid, that the place is a poisonous dictatorship, where teachers don’t even get credit for their work if it doesn’t correspond to the political needs of the great leader.

In 2003, there was a concert in Crema, where a student was advertised as a “Palestinian prepared by a Jewish master” when they didn’t have one male Israeli teacher.

There have been so many manipulative steps along the path to glory, and it can onlybe imagined what single-minded dogged persistence and planning has gone into the manufacturing of such a public image that has borne fruits with money and fame to the extent of the Vatican’s Lenten worldwide contribution to the Holy Land.

Without reality checks like CD’s and reviews, peer-generated critiques of compositions, anybody can say anything.  Now that there is youtube to compare, it is instantly evident that their choir and the music they sing are substandard. As for proving virtue, one can go back to Shakespeare, that is, “protesting too much”. When the claims of making peace to the extent of garnering prizes, medals, honorariums, one can examine the numbers, that is, about 100 students of which an insignificant number are non-Christian, what is the hype all about?

According to their own website, the yearly “non-stop concert” includes all their students.

“A surprisingly numerous audience listened enthusiastically to about a hundred students showing their skills by performing singly, in twos or in groups.” 

Surfing the web is fascinating as at least 6 google pages attest to 200 students.  This number is uncannily reminiscent of the great educator, Janusz Korczak and his 200 orphans.  The latter actually established two orphanages in Warsaw, one for Poles and the other for Jewish kids.  Later he was forced with his ca. 200 children into the Warsaw Ghetto.


As can be seen from the list of winners, there are no participants in categories F and G, those for 17 to 21 year olds. This would appear to confirm that most of those who start learning music do so as a hobby. As soon as they arrive at the age for University, they stop studying music in order to follow their chosen career.”

*** The much trumpeted initial concert was practically a non-event except for the usual fulsome self-praise.

Five hundred people in an audience is not much at all to witness and even justify bringing over an orchestra, especially if 200 hundred of them are allegedly the school’s own students and their family members.  If one is going through all the trouble of plane tickets and accomodation for a large group, why not rent a decent hall outside the Old CIty of Jerusalem where even Israelis would not be afraid to go and make this event at least noticeable to the locals?

Israelis, by the way, do attend in large numbers various ecclesiastical concerts given in for example, the Augusta Victoria, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Churches in Ein Karem and Abu Ghosh. To have presented the whole “Stabat Mater”, not truncated parts of it might have attracted more attention. It would be nice to actually view such fantastic results instead of relying on propaganda and hearsay.

Meanwhile, the video on the left corner is an astonishing under use of a professional orchestra, a puerile arrangement that could be done with first year string students accompanying a unisono singing group that could have been assembled from any middle school with very little advance notice.  “Reality Check” is comparing oneself to what others are doing with much greater competence, not narcissistic self-absorption over nothing.


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