At least one half-dozen local performing artists have been selected and commissioned to perform original works in dance, gospel, jazz and other performing art forms – all using the central Bahá’í message of the oneness of humanity – to honor the 200th birthday of Bahaú’lalh in “Ancient Beauty” 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22 at the Flagstaff Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts: 12 N Saginaw Street,Pontiac. The celebration is free and open to the public but space is limited. For tickets, please click here.
The program is dedicated to the transformative impact of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings on the lives of communities around the country and the world and will include original performances and other selections including:
- Sounding Light –a choral group bringing together a unique collection of singers gathered from seven states
- School of World Music & Dance School of World Music & Dance promoting Indian classical music and dance, showcasing both young and professional talent
- The Native American sounds of songwriting/singing duo Spirits Rising
Also to perform will be the Jazz Quintet for the Nightingale – headed by local jazz percussionist, Oakland University music professor and Bahá’í Mark Stone, who was “instrumental” in bringing “Ancient Beauty” to reality.
“Art and music can become an extension of the central idea in Bahá’í of the oneness of humanity,” said Stone, who was introduced to the Bahá’í Faith by his mentor, “Doc” Marvin Holladay, a musician and retired music professor from Oakland University.
”A central theme of Bahaism is that one can reach a greater understanding of humanity by learning as much as one can about all cultures. As a musician, encompassing the arts into this way to understanding seems the most natural fit. So these two aspects of Bahai beliefs – a respect for the arts and the ideal of the oneness of humanity indeed fosters a respect for the world’s musical traditions.”
The Jazz Quintet will perform an original piece as well as a composition by Dizzy Gillespie – one of the world’s more famous Bahá’ís – who wrote a piece in honor of Enoch Olinga, a Ugandan Bahá’í (1926-1979) who in the late 1950’s was appointed to the highest level in the faith and who helped nurture and spread the teachings of Baha’u’ullah in Africa.
Birth of Bahaú’lálh and the teachings of Bahai
Since the inception of the Bahá’í Faith in the Nineteenth Century, which started with the Baha’u’lalh, who was born in 1817 in Tehran, a growing number of people have found in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh a compelling vision of a better world. Many have drawn insights from these teachings—the oneness of humanity, the equality of women and men, the elimination of prejudice, the harmony of science and religion—and have sought to apply Bahá’í principles to their lives and work.
Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings focus on the unity of God, religion, and mankind. Similar to other monotheistic religions, God is considered the source of all created things. Religion, according to Bahá’u’lláh, is renewed periodically by Manifestations of God, people who are made perfect through divine intervention and whose teachings are the sources of the major world religions throughout history.
Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings include the need for a world tribunal to solve disputes between nations, a uniform system of weights and measures, and a universal language that could be spoken by all the people on earth. Bahá’u’lláh also taught that the cycles of revelatory renewal will continue in the future, with Manifestations of God appearing every thousand years or so.
Bahá’í in Southeast Michigan
There several hundred people in theBahá’í community in the Detroit Metro area. They offer a number of activities, including devotional gatherings, Activities for children and youth, Spiritual study in groups and Interfaith activities find a Bahá’i in your area, please call 248-871-7890.