2020 CHORAL FESTIVAL
Location: Baha'i House of Worship - Wilmette, Illinois, USA
Date: May 21-24, 2020
Each year more than 200 singers from diverse backgrounds and faiths
come from around the globe to attend the Bahá’í House of Worship Choral Festival
Music of the heart offered as devotional prayer
Since its start in 2006, the annual Bahá’í House of Worship Choral Festival has attracted singers and sacred music lovers from around the world. Each year 200 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 Bahá’í Gospel 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 Bahá’í 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 Bahá’í Temple.