The summary of a 2022 full of concerts, workshops, new songs, tours, cities, emotions, people and unforgettable experiences, as told by the Gen Verde members themselves.
The beginning of this year was marked by the new song ‘We Choose Peace‘, which was recorded as the conflict in Ukraine began, which gave an even greater relevance to the words of the song. The videoclip of this song, recorded with young people from Loppiano and launched during United World Weekresonated very strongly throughout 2022 and, in particular, during the band’s European Tour in Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In these countries, local young people participated, together with others from Ukraine and Italy.
“Singing ‘We Choose Peace’ together with young people from various European countries, including Ukrainians, was very moving“, commented Alessandra Pasquali (singer and actress, Italy) and Marita Álvarez (singer, Argentina) says: “singing this courageous cry for peace together made me feel very emotional. Just thinking that for them war is a a very real every day risk made me rethink my commitment to build peace with the people I have around me, in my daily life”.
Another song released during 2022 was ‘Walk On Holy Ground‘, written especially for the followers of St Vincent de Paul, but also for all those who feel called to follow Jesus’ path. “Recording this song was a decisive moment for me. I felt it like a song made for me, at that moment, when I felt I was limited, unable to continue telling everyone that unity is possible… Feeling myself looked at and loved by the One who called me and chose me as I am, gave me the strength and joy to continue with even more conviction”, commented Andreína Rivera (singer, Venezuela). Annalisa Garnero (violinist, Italy) remembers the moment when they played this piece for the first time at the Mass of the General Assembly of the Vincentian Family, in Rome: “It was a particularly sacred moment, of deep conversation with God, both personally and and as a group“.
Back to playing concerts after the pandemic
“It has been such a special year; hard to sum up!” expresses Sally McAllister (manager, Ireland), “in each place we have found a family, perhaps one we have known for years or others with whom after a few days we have created bonds that will last forever, because they are built in God!”. Marie Kudo (lights, Canada) also points out that “through the people we met, we touched so many different realities such as immigration, prison, post-covid challenges, war… The experience was powerful, emotional, almost overwhelming”.
“Thinking of Italy” Sally continues, “the faces of those who are now our family in Cariati, Corigliano, Vigevano, Conselice, Novoli, Castellammare di Stabia, Ravarino, Casagiove, Sardinia, Bologna, Imola, and Rieti come immediately to mind… and there is a special place in our hearts for the organisers and young people in Bormio, Sardinia and Tricase! At this point they are not only Italian cities, but it’s where Fabio, Luciano, Giorgio, Antonella, Moira live…”.
Then, the European tour cannot be overlooked. “First with our Lutheran family in Stadthagen (Germany) with whom we feel that our faith in Jesus and the gospel binds us together so much that no one will ever separate us again!“, says Sally McAllister, “but also the experience we had together in the women’s prison in Vechta… we hope soon to visit our sisters there again… we met them for two hours, but who will ever forget their faces!”.
It must be said, in fact, that the concert in the prison remained imprinted in Gen Verde’s heart, it is clear as several members underlined it. “I have never felt such a strong bond with the audience as I did looking into the eyes of these women. It was very emotional and new for me”, says Nancy Uelmen (singer and composer, USA) and Anita Mussin (dancer, Argentina) adds: “Meeting them made me appreciate my freedom even more because I asked myself: what if I was one of them?”.
“It is difficult to choose the most special moment of this year, but if I have to choose, I think it is the days we spent in the ‘Fazenda da Esperança’ (a community for recovery from different types of addiction and present in various cities around the world) in a city in Germany. Living every day next to the girls who live there gave me so much hope and courage to overcome my own limitations, but above all to believe that not evil but Good will have the last word”, adds Christina Wang (drummer, Malaysia).
“Then”, Sally recalls, “in Schwerte and Krakow we worked with people who have great ideals in their hearts – the team from Kommende Dortmund, the young people from the Katholische Akademie and those from socioMovens! We shared very deep exchanges that make me think that those who say that today’s young people do not have a big heart and soul are very wrong, because we met them and they are wonderful… we had a strong experience where we saw that these bright and joyful young people have great needs – they seek God and do not settle for less. They need credible role models, and we can’t let them down – so they constantly make us give our 100%!”.
Start Now Workshop Project
It takes a chapter of its own to express how important the return to touring has been. Not just because, of course, a band needs to play gigs to survive, it’s part of our DNA. But the best part of all was getting back to doing the Start Now Workshop Project: working together with young people in the art workshops and getting on stage with them.
“It was powerful to find young people from different parts of Europe with such a thirst and desire to take chances for great ideals. Working with them and getting to know them made me realise that for them it wasn’t just words… by sharing our experiences so much light shines in their eyes, which confirms to me that universal fraternity is worth living for”, Raiveth Banfield (singer, Panama) said.
“Having arrived this year, I have experienced almost everything for the first time”, explains Chrispine Kihembo (percussionist, Uganda) “and doing these workshops together with the young people has given me an inner strength to try to make the world united through music and to take the challenges as an opportunity to grow and learn new things”.. On the other hand, Beatrice An (singer, Korea) who, although she has been doing this job for several years, has still rediscovered its value: “Perhaps the post-pandemic has made me discover even more the power there is in the young people, but also in me. I too need their courage, their urge to live and to create”. And on the pandemic, Adriana Garcia (bass player, Mexico) adds how remarkable is “the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health, especially young people: it’s devastating. This makes us feel that our work and commitment is more important than ever”.
“We are increasingly aware of how artistic disciplines are a powerful means of training young people and adults in self-knowledge to foster dialogue with everyone: educational agencies are asking us to study our experience and spread it as widely as possible“, Alessandra points out.
A year full of opportunities to convey the message that Gen Verde wants to get across to everyone: it is worth spending your life for something great. A mission that finds many eyes eager to see and ears ready to listen. In fact, Annalisa particularly remembers one of the evenings in Slovakia, where the band found many young people to talk about the subject of ‘vocation’ within a Start Now, as “a beautiful, profound, interesting evening, in which we met many young people thirsty for God and great things”.
Are you ready for 2023?
It is true that 2022 is not yet over, indeed, there are several weeks to go, including Christmas, which is one of the most important times of the year. However, it must be said that Gen Verde is looking forward to a 2023 full of surprises and news. However, it must be said that Gen Verde is looking forward to a 2023 full of surprises and news. The time will come to discover them… but, for now, we must wait and wish everyone a Happy New Year!