Bahai News - Voices of God raise spirits around the world

Voices of God raise spirits around the world
Locals participate in international choral tour

Atlanta, GA - August 17, 2001 - Voices of Baha, an international choir of 160 singers including Marion Hatch, B. J. Gilmore, Helen Medlin, and Dawn Smith, M. D. of the Atlanta area, recently returned from a concert tour of Europe culminating in participation at the second International Johannes Brahms Choir Festival and Competition in Germany where they won two medals.

The 2001 choir tour gave concerts in Bratislava, Madrid, Barcelona, Thonon-Les-Bains (France), and Paris accompanied by the Slovak National Radio Orchestra. Following the competition the Voices of Baha gave an a cappella concert in the Baha'i House of Worship in Langenhain, Germany. It was the first time these metro Atlanta area residents sang with the group, which has been giving concerts annually across the globe since 1993.

"It was one of the most exhilarating trips I have taken," said Helen Medlin of Lilburn.

Many international and local dignitaries attended the six concerts including the Ambassador of India to Spain and his wife; the Slovakian Charge d'Affaires to France, international philanthropist Vincente Ferrer, and a renowned Spanish radio personality. The Mayor of Madrid hosted choir members at a reception in the town hall. Concert proceeds went to a variety of charities including UNICEF polio fund, UNESCO fund for social development of women in India, Vincente Ferrer Fund for India, CEAR, a Spanish charity for refugees, and Restaurant Le Coeur, a facility for feeding the homeless.

"I came to see how well the orchestra and choir worked together," Stansilav Vello, Slovakian Councilor, said. "I can see it is a very happy marriage. The music is superb."

The Voices of Baha earned a gold medal in the Folklore category for its four gospel tunes and a silver medal in the Mixed Choir category at the Brahms competition in Wernigerode, Germany. It was the first time the choir had entered a competition. They participated with forty choirs from around the world. Based on their performance, the Voices of Baha has been invited to participate in the Choir Olympics to be held in South Korea in October 2002.

The Voices of Baha, under the direction of Tom Price of Nashville, Tennessee, sings a variety of types of music including pop, gospel, spirituals, classic, jazz and ethnic. Choir members came from 18 different countries. The choir practiced together for only two days before their first performance in Bratislava.

All singers, and about 20 helpers, are members of the Baha'i Faith. Choir members themselves pay their own travel expenses. The choir represents the unity in diversity espoused by the Baha'i Faith, which teaches the unity of humanity via elimination of all prejudices. An independent world religion, the Baha'i Faith also believes in the unity of all religions, all teach the same spiritual principles, and one God, which all religions worship.

Following the concerts and competition, the singers went to Haifa, Israel for three days to visit the holy shrines of the Baha'i Faith. It was the first time these area residents had an opportunity to see the nineteen terraces extending up the face of Mt. Carmel, which were only recently completed after ten years of construction.

Editor's Note:

About the Baha'i Faith:

In just over 100 years, the Baha'i Faith has grown from an obscure movement in the Middle East to the second-most widespread religion after Christianity, with over five million members in 235 countries and dependent territories. Embracing people from more than 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups, it is probably the most diverse organized body of people in the world today. Its founder, Baha'u'llah or "the Glory of God" (1817-1892), teaches that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world's religions have been stages in the revelation of God's purpose for humankind. As Baha'u'llah wrote: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens".

Baha'is in the United States:

Baha'i membership in the United States reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the American population. Baha'is reside in approximately 7,000 localities, including over 100 Indian reservations. There are approximately 144,000 Baha'is and over 1,100 local governing councils in the United States. Approximately 2,000 reside in Metro Atlanta.


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