A Creative Approach to Building a Cultural Tapestry

A most needed event took place right here in Rockland County - ‘Unity in Diversity’ was presented by the Eastern Cultural Heritage Organization (ECHO), a not-for-profit organization. It was held on May 11th at Felix Festa Middle School, West Nyack NY. State Senator David Carlucci was the guest of honor who addressed the audience and encouraged the event organizers. The event brought in the aspect of Pluralism and intercultural communication. A four person panel of ordained religious leaders spoke to the audience on religion and its relevance today.

The honored speakers were: Acharya Brahmachari Krishnamoorthy - Hinduism, Chinmaya Mission Dr.Yurdaer Doganata The Halveti-Jerrahi Order of Dervishes-Traditional Muslim Sufi Order Venerable Achok Rinpoche – Buddhism Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey – Unitarian Church Pastor All of the leaders shared their respective religious’ treasures and uniqueness, and very beautifully summed up by identifying the unifying similarities in the teachings of all religions. The principles being, to be a human being first, and to have love, acceptance, compassion, and generosity. The theme of the event was - “Pluralism and Intercultural Communication”.

The event started with Mrs. Indhra Rajashekhar captivating the audience with storytelling, followed by the panel discussion and then an Indian classical dance. After the dance was a performance of fusion music by local artists. The Indian classical dance called Bharathanatyam, was performed by Samantha Manoharan, Rangapriya Rajashekar, Harini Rajashekar, Swati Narayan and Sweta Narayan, who are all students of Mrs.Indhra Rajashekhar. The music performance was done by Mr. Neel Murughi, a multi instrumental performer, composer, and teacher from NYC and violin by Mrs. Leizman, a Master Viola performer who played John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. Mrs. Leizman is also a teacher who teaches strings and orchestra to the students of Clarkstown South High School. The unique and beautiful performances were a definite crowd puller in this one-of-a-kind event.

The program was an inter-cultural event and a treat to the eyes and a melody to the soul. It was a wonderful platform for local artists to come together and perform in Unity which was beautifully choreographed. A stage of this kind is a performing artist's dream, as all artists’ hearts belong together as one in their creative vision of unity. This event is just the beginning of the many shows to come. Make sure to attend or participate in more such events that ECHO would be hosting in the coming months. To keep an eye out for them visit www.echorg.org

ECHO's (Eastern Cultural Heritage Organization) mission are to: Preserve the cultural heritage of the past and the present for the future through performing arts. Bring Eastern Cultural awareness and an inter-cultural dialogue to the West, through artistic expressions of ancient dance, music, theatre and visual arts. A commitment towards education and outreach programs which will promote a rich understanding of ancient traditional music and dances and the cultural heritage of the East. For more information contact ECHO Director Indhra Rajashekhar at 845-510-1516.

By Jayanthi Ramaswami Raghu

URL: A Creative Approach to Building a Cultural Tapestry