Bahai News -- Salt Lake Tribune - Various Faiths Will Harmonize at Tabernacle

Various Faiths Will Harmonize at Tabernacle


    You know it's a new era when Buddhist dancers and American Indian drums take the stage in the Mormon Tabernacle.
    The blessing dance performed by five members of the Khemera Cambodian Dance Troupe and Native American Flute, Blessing, and Drum Honor Song will be part of the second annual Interfaith Roundtable Musical Tribute to the Human Spirit on Feb. 9.
    Last year's event brought faith groups together at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleine in downtown Salt Lake City on the Sunday night before the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, as part of the roundtable's Olympic offerings. Leaders in diverse spiritual traditions, members of various faiths, Salt Lake Organizing Committee volunteers and employees, civil servants, CEO Mitt Romney and Gov. Mike Leavitt, all gathered together as one congregation.
    "We knew it was a good idea, but it exceeded our dreams," said Steve Kohlert, a roundtable member from the LDS Church, in a news release. "Now it seems to have a life of its own this second year, with a growing momentum. It brings people of different religions together in a very respectful way."
    This year the evening will be hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tabernacle on Temple Square and will feature musical groups and speakers from more than two dozen faiths. In addition to the dancers and drummers, the program will include the Orchestra at Temple Square, Hindu prayer, St. Paul's Episcopal Church Choir, Rondalla Ariez Spanish Choir (Catholic), Baha'i prayer, Utah Valley Mass Choir (gospel), Christian Science prayer, Islamic prayer, Wesley Bell Ringers (Methodist) and music of the Tabernacle organ.
    "Music is a way for people of different faiths and beliefs to worship together," said Jerald Ottley, former director of the Tabernacle Choir who coordinated both events. "When people sing or chant, the melody and tone speak louder than words, resonating positive feelings that transcend belief."
    It's like a symphony, added Sabrina Stillwell, a roundtable member and former Olympic chaplain with the Christian Science faith. "We all have different voices and parts to play, but under the direction of one conductor we can find harmony."
    The interfaith service will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

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