Annual Choral Festival draws singers and sacred music lovers
The 13th Annual Baha’i Choral Music Festival Devotional Concerts will be held at the House of Worship on Sunday, May 26, at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Concerts are free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Watch a live stream of the 9:30 concert.
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Since its start in 2006, the annual Baha’i House of Worship Choral Festival has attracted singers and sacred music lovers from around the world. Each year 180 or more voices soar in the 72-foot dome, adding harmonies to the holy words of the world’s religions, as audience members contemplate their beautiful, uplifting sentiments.
The multi-cultural programs include classical choral arrangements, new Baha’i Gospel-style compositions, traditional folk songs, and Negro spirituals. The concerts are sung entirely a capella, in four or more parts. Singers memorize their parts so they can sing without sheet music, and be totally focused on the director and each other. The music is offered as sacred, devotional prayer.
The festivals provide opportunities for diverse singers to share their musical experience, to learn from one another, to form fast friendships and to pray together. Some singers are accomplished, trained musicians, while others sing simply for the love of it.
In the weeks leading up to the festival, singers living in remote areas learn the pieces individually by way of video streamed rehearsals. Participants then spend three days together in focused rehearsals where they fit all of their parts together. The weekend culminates with two free public performances that regularly draw delighted audiences to the 1,200-seat auditorium.
The gatherings underscore Baha’i belief in the oneness of humanity. Many singers return year after year for the chance to raise their voices in praise of God in the rarified space under the dome of the Baha’i Temple.