By Cassie DeLozier
Oklahoma State U.
(U-WIRE) STILLWATER, Okla. -- Baritone saxophonist and ethnomusicologist
Marvin "Doc" Holladay shared his music and insights with the Oklahoma State
University Baha'i community in the Student Union Starlight Terrace on Sunday
Holladay, a renowned musician and member of the Baha'i faith, is touring the
Southern states, offering his views on religion, racial equality and music
in honor of Black History Month.
Mike Bigler, member of the Baha'i community, said OSU was lucky to hear
"This lecture was kind of due to the luck of timing," Bigler said. "We were
contacted about a week ago and made the arrangements for him to perform here."
"My son attends the University of Tulsa and tried to get (Holladay) to
perform there and they never could get the arrangements made," Bigler said.
"They couldn't find a room to hold the program in."
Holladay started the program with the Duke Ellington tune, "In a Mellow
Tone," then spoke about unity and diversity, a quality found in Ellington's
music and the Baha'i faith.
"It's not us and them," Holladay said. "It's just all of us. We're all the
same and different."
Holladay discussed the reasons he named his autobiography "Life on the
Fence." He spoke about his small hometown and shared a story about a time
when racism slapped him in the face.
After walking out of a restaurant that did not admit blacks, Holladay and
his black friend went to a chicken shack where a cook treated him strangely
because he was white.
"Because of what I looked like, I couldn't go here, and because of what I
was, I couldn't go there," Holladay said. "There are a lot of us that sit on
Holladay played three songs during the lecture and discussed the importance
of jazz in American heritage.
"Jazz is integral to the way the world sees us," he said. "When people around
the world hear jazz, they hear America."
Holladay also discussed the Baha'i faith and his views on unity.
"If you read spiritual books from different religions, the spiritual message
is the same," he said. "It is the social message that is different."
"God made one religion; man made them different."
Holladay attended Yale University and Wesleyan University to pursue adoctorate
"Don't you just love it when people put all of those syllables on to words?"
Holladay asked the small audience. "I'm a teacher of world music."
Holladay has toured the world with musicians Duke Ellington, J.C. Heard, and
the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra and recently released a new compact disc titled,
"Sweetness and Light."
Rocky Salim, member of the OSU Baha'i Club, said Holladay's lecture was
appreciated by the Baha'i community.
"It's really a special thing that Doc Holladay was able to be here," Salim
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