Financial support of the Oakwood University Aeolians by the General Conference
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The Oakwood University Aeolians were originally organized in 1946 by the late Dr Eva B Dykes. With 45-60 members from various disciplines, the choir travels internationally as ambassadors for the University, but even greater than that, as messengers for Christ. In 2017, the Aeolians won the World Choir Title (Choir of the World) in the choral category during the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfo in Wales as well as the Outstanding Choir Director of the World award, which was awarded to the Aeolians' director Jason Max Ferdinand. Previously, they won the gold in the World Choir Games in a number of different categories (Spiritual, Music of Religions and Musica Contemporanea) in 2012. Even though such an amazing talent has been fostered in one of the most prestigious universities in the Adventist church, they still have to raise money to travel all around the world - carrying all those members across the world is an expensive task!
We know that "music can touch and move us with a power that goes beyond words or most other types of communication" as stated on the adventist.org website. As a people who believe in the last day message that needs to be spread to the world, it is clear that musical talent should be used to spread God's message far and wide, and that it can do this in a way that the spoken word may not be able to do. Therefore, the proposal is that the General Conference should be funding the Aeolians in a number of ways:
1) To allow them to tour the world, bringing the gospel message to millions. The Aeolians have the quality to sell out concert halls across the globe and to participate in the most prestigious of music festivals (for example, the BBC Proms). This would then put them in front of audiences who could then hear the word of God and have a seed planted.
2) For recording purposes. For all the amazing talent that the Aeolians have, they do not have the discography to support this. The Aeolians should be recording at the most professional studios, with world-class sound technicians, mixing and mastering engineers and producers.
3) Publishing. The great talents that exist in the Aeolians do not stop at just singing, but also composing and songwriting as well. If the Aeolians continued to compose their own music and sell this, they could sell arrangements and obtain money through publishing rights in order to continually sustain themselves as a business.
4) Marketing. In order for the Aeolians to get international status and recognition as a premier choir and to bring their message to millions, a dedicated Marketing & PR Team working to raise their profile online and offline would be crucial to their success.
Essentially, the General Conference would be acting as an investor in the Aeolians - this investment would return tenfold, not only financially, but more importantly, in souls won to the gospel.
I ask that you would consider this with a prayerful heart, that you would study the purposes of music in the word of God and in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, and that you would evaluate whether the cause of God in this world could be moved forward by such a group as the Aeolians. I look forward to your reply.
Akil Henry (South England Conference, UK)
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