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Friday, September 20, 2002

Performers celebrate music, spirituality at first Festival of Faiths

Princetonian Staff Writer

    Last night, roughly 100 people came to experience the Festival of Faiths musical performance on the south lawn of the Frist Campus Center. Sponsored by the Religious Life Council, the festival combined the musical talents and spiritual energy of 13 performance groups.

    The idea of a festival celebrating faith through music was suggested by Josephine Decker '03, and the festival has been in the planning for man than year.

    Music "transcends differences," she said. "All music is spiritual in a way, so this is a great way to bring people together."

    Dean of Religious Life the Rev. Thomas Breidenthal applauded the work of the council.

    "It is dedicated to the work of getting to understand each other better and share the fruits of that with the larger community," he said.

    The religious life office hopes to make the Festival of Faiths an annual event in collaboration with the undergraduate students office.

    "We are hoping that it will become part of the residential education program," said Sue Anne Steffy Morrow, assistant dean of religious life. "[The festival is] directed at the incoming class to help them begin to understand the nature of the Princeton community."

    The festival opened with percussion teacher John Arrucci followed by the University Chapel Choir performing "Siyahamb."

    Decker and Sean Cameron '05 of the Muslim Students Association were the emcees for the event.

    After their introduction, David Coolidge GS of the Muslim Students Association performed the Muslim call to prayer, and Matt O'Brien '03 of the Aquinas Institute presented a hymn to the sacred heart of Jesus.

    On a lighter note, the Klezmocratts, founded last year, performed two songs, "Rumanian Horra" and "Baym Rebn in Palestina," led by Joshua Burton '05.

    Bringing more contemporary music into the mix, the University Jazz Ensemble performed "Come Sunday" with Alidia Claggett '05 on vocals.

    Then, Madhu Bhalla, founder of the Central Jersey Hindu Association, performed a prayer. Next, the Princeton Gospel Ensemble, led by president Troy Savage '05, sang "Let Our Light Shine."

    Joseph Skloot '05, who is a Princetonian arts writer, represented the Reformed Minyan Jewish Group and performed "Od Yavo Shalom" and "Sim Shalom," expressing hope for peace in the Middle East and in the world at large.

    Performing next was Savraj Dhanjal '03 and Pateek Singh, a junior at Lawrence High School, of the Sikh Sabba of New Jersey with "Hymn from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib," the divine scripture of the Sikhs. The Princeton Evangelical Fellowship and Agape performing a song of praise and hope of salvation.

    Also performing last night was the co-ed Jewish a cappella group Koleinu, which performed "She-hechiyanu" and "Hatikvah."

    The evening ended with a closing prayer by Navid Samadani-McQuirk '05 of the Baha'i Club.

    "This musical celebration is meant to provide visibility for the strength and diversity of religious life on the Princeton campus," Morrow said.

©Copyright 2002, Daily Princetonian

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