Melbourne concert raises funds for Japan
Interfaith 'work' will only succeed when faith members draw their attention and energy away from proselytising and focusing on how they can all be productive - as a team. This was very evident when Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Zoroastrians, Humanists, Aboriginal people and many many other faith representatives and devotees came together for this very touching and moving concert last Sunday - mainly women!
Under the capable direction of Jessiee Kaur Singh, WINF president and the indefatigable Jamel Kaur executing the plan, it all came together last Sunday with about 50 artistes; Lisa from Cultural Infusion managing the stage; Nik Harrison managing the sound, and Videoing by aboriginal radio 3KND. Faith Representatives from 9 different faiths gave of their time to offer prayers for Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster victims.
Sikh organisation Sikh Naujawan Melbourne and Auntie Pauline of Bumbalbee Factory from the Dandenongs came with food for all, with all takings going to the cause.
Aboriginal elders Uncle Reg Blow and Auntie Sharon Firebrace opened proceedings followed by an address by acting Consul General Yasufumi Kotake thanking all for the effort towards helping his fellow country folks in need.
Parvyn Kaur Singh and partner Josh Bennett starred with two appearances singing a prayer and one touching song about the plight of those in need. Japanese ladies drumming group Fuefukuro drummed up a storm. Our group, Dya Singh world music then took the stage with daughters Harsel and Jamel, Jagdeep Singh on tabla and Greek bouzouki player George ................ We had the audience clapping and singing along.
Jewish acapella group Kolcha from the Bentley Synagogue offered three Jewish renditions culminating in an offering about peace with one they had specially prepared with Japanese language words in it.
Traditional Chinese Buddhist Fo Guang Shan choir including elders and even children rendered three very meditative and deeply moving offerings.
The son and daughter of Hindu representative Mrs. Mangalam dazzled with three scintillating hindu dances in beautiful traditional costumes.
An audience of just over 200 enjoyed a beautiful enchanting evening of prayers, music, song and dance culminating in a finale with most artistes taking the stage starting with Uncle Reg Blow playing the didgeridoo. This was followed by a chant from the Jewish choir. The rhythm then picked up with Josh Bennett on the guitar, George ......... on the bouzouki, the Fuefukuro drummers and Jagdeep on the tabla to assist me singing a Gregorian, Hindu, Buddist, Muslim and Sikh chants accompanied by everyone on stage and joined by the audience at the end, singing just one line 'We are all connected'. Spontaneously artistes got off the stage and joined hands with the audience and soon everyone in the hall was offering their heartfelt prayers for the afflicted people of Japan to the strains of 'We are all connected'.
The effort collected just over $2000 for aid to Japan. There were little costs as all work was done by volunteers and thanks to Collingwood College who offered their auditorium free of charge for the event.
Where billions of dollars are needed in aid this was barely a drop, but over 200 people offered their heartfelt sentiments and prayers and almost 50 artistes gave of their time as their effort to help their afflicted Japanese brothers and sisters. Where faith representatives and devotees of inter-faith cooperation lack in large amounts of money, not getting much help from the Corporate world, media and media personalities, they do make up in sincere love and prayer.
A Hindu senior women said she was feeling sick and by the end of the concert she felt healed. Most expressed that they felt spiritually uplifted and joyful. One Jewish women said she had been involved with InterFaith activities for the last seventeen years but this event was truly 'Interfaith' and one of the best she has ever attended. It was all smiles and joyous people sharing vegetarian samosas, sweets and all sort of cakes before going home.
The last word from an elder Sikh gentleman. " We go to our places of worship and 'retreats' for spiritual nourishment. Once in a while we need to remind ourselves that we can get equally as much spiritual nourishment and upliftment, or even more, by joining fellow human beings from different faiths praying and singing for a worthy cause like this. After all God belongs to all and we all belong to the one God."
Report by Dya Singh