A choir from Winnipeg, Manitoba, that draws its lyrics from the writings of the Bahá’í Faith has been selected to perform in the official Canada Day program on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
The Abha Voices choir, made up of residents of Winnipeg, will travel to Ottawa on Canada Day weekend, along with one choir from each of the other provinces and territories, to participate in the festivities.
The choir was started by Alex Zografov in 2000. Its entire repertoire is drawn from the words of the central figures of the Bahá’í Faith, set to music composed by Zografov. While initially made up mostly of Bahá’ís, the choir has increasingly attracted singers from beyond the Bahá’í community over the years. Zografov moved to Bulgaria with his family this past March but will return to conduct the choir in Ottawa.
The Abha Voices, along with the other choirs that have been invited to Ottawa, will perform at selected venues during the weekend. Dates include June 29th at noon in the rotunda in the centre block on Parliament Hill; 8:00 pm the same day at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church; and June 30th at noon at the National Arts Centre. Admission to all performances is free.
All of the choirs will then join for a large group performance, accompanied by the National Arts Centre orchestra, on Canada Day itself.
One of the songs that the Abha Voices will be performing in its solo appearances comes from a proclamation made by Bahá’u’lláh on the subject of world unity:
We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem Us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment…. These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind…1