By Charlie Johnston
I absolutely LOVE Tschaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” Alas, I have only heard two performances of it in my life that do it real justice. Most performances completely botch the last triumphant section, making it furious and fast, focusing on the booming of the cannon. They don’t sufficiently invoke the pathos of the suffering Russian people in the early strains, many who lost all they had and were starving.
Actually, the 1812 Overture is the symphonic history of Russia’s agony, revival, and triumph during the Napoleonic invasion of the same year. It is as faithful a history in music as I have ever heard. The initial pathos of the strings evokes the people’s painful agony as Napoleon swept into the country, making his way towards Moscow. He seemed as close to an unstoppable force as any invader ever had. The furiousness of the center of the overture represents what Napoleon thought would be his triumphant entry into Moscow – but would actually prove to be his undoing. Rather than let the invader re-supply himself in the abandoned city, the people set a multitude of fires, nearly burning the city to the ground. Confusion and chaos reigned, as the formerly disciplined French troops took to looting and scrounging for a little food. After dithering for a month, hoping that something would come along, the French general finally began his retreat – right as the brutal Russian winter was coming on. The Russians had to do little, except harass the retreating French Army. It was one of the most disastrous incursions in history. Of the more than 600,000 French troops which invaded Russia, barely 100,000 survived the retreat.
The final section of the piece should be stately and steady – triumphant but not frenetic. All the Russians had to do was oversee the withdrawal. There was no need to chase the French out of Russia; the latter were desperate to get out.
Late in the first third of the overture, during the deep pathos, the triumphant theme that will dominate the end of the piece is first heard in muffled fashion as French Horns quietly sound the first call of hope in the midst of the misery. That soft sounding of the French Horns is my favorite part of the whole piece, for it is the sound of light penetrating the darkness, a foreshadowing of the true triumph of hope and renewal. Once the first sounding came that the Napoleonic forces were not invincible, more and more Russian troops and Russian citizens were emboldened to make their stand and defy the would-be conqueror. Oh, it is magnificent!
Last Saturday, the French Horns in Christianity made their soft entrance. In Sacramento, 150 people braved 111 degree heat to walk from the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament to the California State Capitol, where they prayed a living Rosary
and spoke out to resume public worship and Masses, despite Gov. Gavin Newsome’s efforts to shut the faith and the faithful down. This was a project that CORAC – the Corps of Renewal and Charity – collaborated in and supported, along with Fr. Richard Heilman’s US Grace Force. It was the brainchild of Kathy Raymond. Steve Johnston (my brother), the Regional Coordinator for California and Nevada, jumped in after Raymond started it and contacted our friends throughout California to participate and help plan it. Our Sacramento coordinator, Jeanne Condon, jumped right in and helped get people out and organized. By mid-morning Saturday, organizers were fearful that there would be little turnout because of the unprecedented heat wave that had settled on the area. But the people came.
There were no protesters. In fact, the people involved told me that passers-by, when they found out what was up, were giving them high-fives and fist-bumps, jubilantly saying it was about time people started standing up.
I was delighted to see our first CORAC project bring out so many under such adverse conditions. I was also delighted that my brother connected with so many of my dear friends across California. From San Diego, he drove eight hours north to participate – and stayed at the home of a dear friend of mine, Paula Tomei, in Yuba City.
Simultaneously, in Madison, Wisconsin, they had a procession over ten times as large at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Of course, this is the home base of Fr. Heilman and his US Grace Force – and he has the enthusiastic public support of his Bishop, Donald Hying, who not only endorsed the movement but led the procession.
May this movement spread and grow until, like the final passages of 1812 Overture, it swells to fill the earth with its potency and promise. Our journey to the Triumph has begun.
At the annual Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, Antifa brownshirts had to be grateful that the town has NOT defunded the police this weekend. These clowns thought it was a good idea to go try to bully a town full of bikers. In the linked video, you can see some of the cops occasionally smirking as they protect the Antifa frauds and get them safely out of danger. It had to be a quiet delight for the police to have to be called to the rescue of people who have spent this year smearing and attacking them.
Antifa and the BLM communist front are hothouse plants. Outside of cities where Democratic officials protect – and even join – in their mayhem, they wilt and faint. The folks in the heartland aren’t buying what the anti-God left is selling.
Mary Lapchak is busy getting everything ready for next month’s CORAC National Conference in Limon, Colorado. It will begin with a reception on Friday, Sept. 11 and end on Sunday, Sept. 13. If you want more information or to volunteer, contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will have some more details on the conference later this week.
Finally, a short mission statement on what CORAC is and its primary goals:
CORAC Mission Statement
Corps of Renewal and Charity
CORAC is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending the traditional values of faith, family and freedom. Its three primary goals are to:
- Publicly stand for these values. This is accomplished by connecting activists into mutual communication and collaboration with each other. Regional and local groups will independently mount events to highlight the importance and efficacy of these values in their areas, in consultation and with the support of the national organization.
- Prepare people to defend themselves against any effort to outlaw or suppress these fundamental principles. Activists will organize people in their regions putting an emphasis on public defense and advocacy of these three core values. To better organize all for every contingency, specific skill sets will be identified, on a volunteer basis, including communications, medical expertise, legal expertise, farmers and hunters, logistics, food gathering and preparation, tradesmen, police and military vets, teachers and catechists, artists, writer, designers, and religious ministers.
- Prepare to publicly defend any of these traditional core values that are outlawed or suppressed.
Membership is open to all people of good will, without regard to ethnicity, sex, religious or political affiliation. Yet all members must support the traditional definitions of religious liberty, family life, and human rights as defined by natural law in the American Bill of Rights.
To facilitate this, national leadership will divide the country into regions and appoint coordinators for each. Each Regional Coordinator will appoint local coordinators to carry out the aims of the organization. Though the heart of the activism involved is local, it is with the consultation, support and coordination with all levels. Thus, the national organization will supply regional coordinators with contact information for those who have volunteered, regional coordinators will add people recruited through local events to the overall membership lists, and all levels will consult with each other on the specific projects that are mounted.
Both national and regional leadership will initiate the printing of pamphlets and other means of communicating the core message.