On February 25th, 13 delegates from the United States will be going on a Peace Delegation to the country of Iran with The Fellowship of Reconciliation (www.forusa.org) â€“ an organization started in 1914 in Switzerland to prevent war in Europe. TMG Records is proud to announce that Transcendence lead singer Ed Hale has been chosen to be one of the 13 delegates.
Hale has been very active the last few years both with Transcendence, who has two new albums releasing this year on Universal Music, a vocal proponent of peace and anti-war movements, and in various volunteer activities including two home rebuilding trips to the Gulf Coast in 2006 and a two-week Home Building project in Ghana, Africa in 2007 with Habitat for Humanity. The FOR group of thirteen Americans will tour Iran for two-weeks, primarily focusing on visiting schools, universities, newspapers, and TV stations to foster more harmony and solidarity between the American and Iranian people. The Fellowship of Reconciliation has been sponsoring trips such as these for over eighty years all over the world and has headquarters in over 40 countries. The organizationâ€™s primary mission is to foster peace and understanding between peoples of different cultures and prevent wars. We are excited to invite friends and fans of Edâ€™s to play a part in this very special event. One of the coolest aspects of this latest adventure is that the funds to help pay Ed’s delegate fee are being raised by fans and friends online using social networks like MySpace and the super-cool â€œChipIn widget.â€ Fans and friends can simply click the â€œdonateâ€ button and using a credit card or Paypal contribute anything they want to. With the Transcendence fanbase, even if people donate small amounts such as $5, we will easily raise the necessary travel cost. And the ChipIn Widget tracks the progress in real-time so everyone can log-on at anytime to see how much money has been collected and watch as we reach the goal! Fans and friends are also posting comments to this page. Click here to read or post comments.To read more of the background story of this very special trip, check out Edâ€™s blogs about the trip at edhale.com or Edâ€™s MySpace page. To learn more about the Fellowship of Reconciliation organization and how you can become involved click here www.forusa.org.
Best of all, as soon as you donate, you get to watch your contribution raise the meter that much higher and closer to the goal! And your name appears on the list of contributors if you so desire (optional).Yes ladies and gentlemen we have already crunched the numbers and had our fun with the math. If everyone contributes $5 we will need 600 contributors. $10? Only 300 contributors. $20? Well now we’re down to only 150 contributors. Etc. So give if you can and most of all have some fun with it. And thank you for taking part in this fantastic adventure!
Use the handy-dandy ChipIn Widget to donate
Ed Hale: “Dear friends, this is probably as shocking to you as it was to me when I first heard the news. I am at once excited, nervous, and deeply honored to be a part of this amazing opportunity.
“As many of you know, I have had an obsession with Iranian culture for the last three or four years. It is very similar to the way I felt about Africa, about Italy, and about Brasil before that. I have been studying their history, music, and language ravenously for four years. I find them to be some of the wittiest, deepest, warmest, soulful people I know. They are also extremely FUNNY!
“Their music strikes a chord in me that feels karmic. Ironically, in 2005 I applied to the Iranian Embassy for a Visa. See original visa applicaitons here. My plan was to attend a school there for a month or two to study Classical Persian Music and to learn more of their language of Farsi to better communicate with the people. I also hoped that my being there would create my own little ripple in the bigger pond as it were to show that we’re pretty nice people and have sincere interest in them as people as well.
“My Visa of course was rejected — this was 2005, and though they were intrigued by my strange inquiry, relations between Iran and the United States have not been great lately as most know so they told me to try again in a year or so.
“Through a rather strange series of circumstances, out of literally nowhere came this opportunity. It was entirely unplanned truth be told and I am shocked at how beautifully odd, or oddly beautiful, things work out sometimes. I was at a Community Building conference at a Convent in upstate New York a few months back — that’s a loaded statement I know, but I have a deep love for this particular place of peace and serenity in the middle of the woods, and for the Sisters who live there.
“There happened to be one, Sister Ellen Francis, who was visiting that weekend and we became fast friends. We spoke a lot about our love of other cultures, of technology and the internet, our love of connecting to the Divine, and our various volunteer and activist activities around the world, and she asked me if I would be interested in applying to go on some Peace Delegation Trip to Iran that she was going on in 2008. One has to to wonder if angels weren’t laughing their wings off in hysterics in that moment at the sight of my dropped jaw and wide eyes… Of course I began speaking a million miles an hour telling her how I know all of the famous Persian composers and poets and writers through the centuries and how I had spent the last three years studying the language of Farsi and how I even applied for a Visa on my own…. Neither of us could help but smile.
“She then explained that there would be a lengthy application process and there was no guarantee that my application would be accepted. (it took over a month, and felt more like a college entrance exam to be perfectly frank, but I was accepted). She then told me that each delegate pays a fee for the trip. My jaw went back up and my heart went back into my brain. A friend of mine who was sitting at the table with us casually commented, “Ed I’ll contribute $50 if you are selected. No harm in at least applying. Just do it.”
And there it is in a nutshell. Of course, the band still has two new CDs coming out early next year and who knows where this little side road fits in with all of that. But I will bring along the usual arsenal of cameras and tripod and create YouTube videos of the trip to keep you all as close and connected to the trip as I possibly can. Most of all, I hope we are really able to connect with the Iranian people in a sincere and impactful way and help do our small part to bridge us closer together, and one step further from conflict. To all of you are contributing and have contributed to past adventures of yours truly, thank you!