Baha'i News -- West Lafayette Bahais to sing in choir of 500 posted Wednesday, June 26th 2002

West Lafayette Bahais to sing in choir of 500

By Bob Scott, Journal and Courier

West Lafayette residents Natasha Komoda and Alan Manifold will sing Sunday at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the Bahai Faith's Festival of the Arts .

The festival will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the second Bahai World Congress.

"I'm very excited," said Komoda, 16.

"The music is incredible."

Manifold agreed.

"Most of the songs are original," he said. "It is an international festival with Bahai members from around the world."

The Voices of Bahai Choir will have 500 singers and an orchestra. Other parts of the festival include the Bahai Gospel Singers and "A Night of Fine Persian Music."

Manifold, systems implementation manager for the Purdue Libraries, and Komoda, an incoming sophomore at West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School, auditioned on the telephone to earn spots in the choir.

"They had to audition so many people that it was quicker to use the telephone," Manifold said.

"They had many more than 500 who auditioned."

Manifold, Komoda and the other singers will rehearse each day in Carnegie Hall, starting tonight, for the Sunday concert. Saturday's rehearsal will be recorded for a possible CD.

Both local singers have choral music backgrounds. Manifold sang at Earlham College and was with the Lafayette Chamber Singers for 15 years. Komoda is in the advanced high school choir.

"I want to be an opera singer some day," she said.

Komoda was born in New Jersey but has lived most of her life in Yokohama, Japan. She moved to West Lafayette last year from Chicago. Her mother is pursuing a degree at Purdue University.

Last year, she was a member of the Voices of Bahai Choir and toured seven European countries and the Middle East in three weeks.

"The tour was a great experience," she said. "I love to travel and sing.

"We were on a bus always on the move. It was exciting."

Stops included Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Geneva, Frankfurt and Vienna. Her favorite site was Haifa, Israel -- home of the Shrine of the Báb, a prophet of the Bahai Faith. Included at the shrine are 19 terraced gardens on Mount Carmel.

"It was beautiful," Komoda said. "I was only allowed to tour certain parts, but it was wonderful."

Manifold and Komoda have been busily rehearsing their parts with the help of specially prepared audio CDs.

"Each person received a CD with their own part on it. My bass part blares out at me," Manifold said.

"I've been practicing for three weeks as much as I can. I got a portable CD player to get used to the music."

Komoda said she is prepared for anything at Carnegie Hall.

"It is a musical performance, so you know that something will go wrong," she said with a laugh.

"I can't wait."

©Copyright 2002, Journal and Courier

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