Expressions of Unity Through Music and Ritual

University of the West   ||   Saturday, March 3, 2012   ||   2:00pm-5:00pm

The Performances

Rev. Shawn Kindorf and Dennis Bryan (Religious Science)

~~How We Pray~~
Reverend Shawn Kindorf is one of the most progressive ministers in Religious Science today. Heart-centered, wisdom based, enthusiastic and vivacious, her vision is that “all people know they are included in God’s perfect expression of Life, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, or any other labels with which we tend to identify”. The Divine nature of each person is nourished and allowed to evolve through creativity, classes, playful events, meditation and prayer. Rev. Shawn began living her passion of seeing God expressed through the arts early in life. As a former professional dancer, dance teacher, and studio owner, she has brought that passion of self-expression and transformation into people’s lives. 

Rev. Shawn graduated from Holmes Institute School of Ministry in 1999 and began serving Harmony Center for Spiritual Living. She was Ordained in February 2002. She has been invited to speak at United Centers for Spiritual Living annual conference and has served on the organizations planning committee for 3 years.  She has also participated in local interfaith events.  Rev. Shawn has developed a broad repertoire and an uncanny ability to relate Spirituality in meaningful, and often playful ways. Her deep heart-centered nature helps her to teach Spirituality to many people on many different levels. Rev. Shawn adds, “Many people who consider themselves spiritual, but not religious (including myself), have found a home in this philosophy and in this spiritual community.”

How We Pray is a demonstration of their ritual/method of 5 step prayer using a medley of songs combined with my explanations and examples.

Rev. Shawn will present this with her musician Dennis Bryan.


Dr. Ahmad H Sakr, His Team (Islam)

Dr. Sakr obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1966. While studying in America, he was a founding member and president of the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S.A and Canada, currently known as the Islamic Society of North America (or ISNA), a mother organization in North America. Dr. Sakr was also a founding member of the World Council of Mosques whose headquarters is in Makkah. He was the first director and representative of the Muslim World League to the U.N. Furthermore, Dr. Sakr is an educator and has taught in several universities. In 1973, he was selected as an Outstanding Educator of America. He is also an administrator and has served in numerous capabilities at various American universities, the last of which was as the Acting President of the American Islamic College in Chicago. In 1976/1977 he was selected as a Community Leader and a Noteworthy American.

Currently, he is the president of the Foundation for Islamic Knowledge. Director of the Islamic Education Center in Walnut, California, a member of Operation Safe Community, a member of the Walnut Interfaith Council in California, and a board member of the Islamic food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA). Dr. Sakr has appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” as well as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In addition, he has made numerous radio and television appearances. He has also organized and coordinated many national and international conferences. Additionally, he is a well known writer and has written a series of books and booklets on Islam, food, health, behavior, terrorism, fundamentalism, Khutab, and orations. At last count, he had written over forty five (45) books (in English and Arabic) and booklets not counting the innumerable articles he has authored. Dr. Sakr’s approach is to build a bridge of understanding through commonalities with Muslims and non-Muslims. He visited Vatican in Rome, Italy where he participated in a Dialogue with the Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope.

The Hsi Lai Chinese Drum Troupe
(Chinese Tradition)


In 2001, seven Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) Los Angeles members went to Taiwan for two weeks of drum training at the Nan Hua University. They attended classes and practiced intensively for more than ten hours a day for fourteen days straight. On returning to Hsi Lai Temple, the Hsi Lai Chinese Drum Troupe was formed. Since, the group has recruited many new members who are trained locally at the temple where they practice every Sunday afternoon under the guidance of master drum teacher Mr. Steven Zhao.

Chinese drum performance brings with it the fine art and culture of its tradition, with its regional variations. The drum has a profound cultural significance, as well as the artistic forms and expressions it presents. The upbeat melody attracts people from all walks of life, captivating their attention and energizing them spiritually. The troupe has been invited to numerous occasions by various organizations in different communities in Southern California to perform and is highly commended for their performances. 

They will be performing a 5-minute song, Festival, to mark the beginning of the Celebration in this auspicious season.

Spring Festival is a traditional Chinese celebration. People from different ethnic groups would put on colorful clothes and gather together to celebrate. Among the colorful blooming flowers, it is the best time to come together to celebrate with joy and festivities.


The Hsi Lai Temple English Chanting Group (Buddhism)

~~Great Vows of Kuan Yin Bodhisattva~~

Hsi Lai Temple of Hacienda Heights, California, is the largest U.S.branch of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order in Taiwan. Hsi Lai Temple promotes Humanistic Buddhism, which encourages devotees to integrate the Buddha's teachings of tolerance, loving-kindness, compassion,joyfulness, and equanimity into dailylife for the benefit of oneself and all beings.

Chanting at Hsi Lai Temple embraces the Chinese Mahayana tradition. Though chanting, one meditates toexperience spiritual unity with the Buddha’s Teachings. Our performance at the Interfaith Celebration presents one sub-chapter from the Great Compassion Repentance service, entitled, the Great Vows of Kuan Yin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva. As the granter of courage and comfort, KuanYin Bodhisattva provides the ultimate example of love and compassion. This chant allows practitioners to express and contemplate the Great Vows of the Bodhisattva and strengthens our resolve to follow her example by helping those in need.  

Presenters include members of Hsi Lai Temple's Chanting 201 Class: Ching Chausse, Dave and Nancy Cowardin, Sacha DeNijs, David Ibrahim,Nancy Lojas, Ong, Julie Perich, Janet Petti, Linda Skybrock, and Robert Weibley.


Hazzan (Cantor) Paul Buch (Judaism)

~~ Holy Ground~~

Hazzan Paul Buch has served Temple Beth Israel's since 2003 and is a graduate and ordainee of the Academy for Jewish Religion/California in Los Angeles (www.ajrca.org).

Cantor Buch leads music at religious services and life cycle events, teaches liturgy, scriptural chanting and music in our Beit Sefer (religious school) and mentors students preparing for Bar/Bat Mitzvah. He contributes musically throughout our congregation, and his soulful, energetic approach has been described as both “deeply spiritual” and “cheerleading for G-d”. He participates regularly in our Adult Jewish Learning program and with our Tarbut seniors group.

Cantor Buch comes to the cantorate after a 25 year career in television and film production in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, OR which he embarked on after his graduation from Boston University with a degree in journalism. A native of Buffalo, NY, Cantor Buch credits his parents, David and Drena (z”l) with inspiring a love for Judaism and especially Jewish music in him at a very young age.

Motivated by his own upbringing in a diverse religious community, Cantor Buch is deeply engaged with community interfaith activities. He is currently President of the Claremont Interfaith Council and serves on the Faith-Based Roundtable of the Pomona Unified School District. He is also Chair of the City of Claremont's Human Relations Committee, a member of the Upland Interfaith Council and serves on an advisory committee at the Claremont School of Theology.

Cantor Buch's presentation will be centered around the idea of "unity in community."  He will also present an example of how a traditional chant melody can be adapted in a more contemporary way, and how a song meant for children can be relevant and meaningful to adults as well.

Pundit Srikanthachar Tirumale Rangachar (Hinduism)

Srikanthachar Tirumale Rangachar was born on Oct 2nd 1974, in Bangalore, in an orthodox priest family. He joined Mallikarjuna veda Samskruta Patasala in Bangalore to study Krishna Yajur Veda in 1992 and completed Veda Course Sanskrit Study in 1998. Later he completed his Pancharatna Agama under Sampath Kumara Bhattachar. Later he studied poorva prayoga (vedic ritual performances) under Anantha Krishna Vadyar. He served at Devagari Sri Varaprada Venkateswara Temple at Bangalore as well as performed home pujas. In 2002 he participated at Sri Venkateswara Temple, Pittsburgh for 25th anniversary function where he performed Koti Tulasi Dala Archana, Vishwa Shanti Yagna and Ashtakshara Yagnaand Sahasra Rajatha Kalashabhishekam for four months.Again Srikanthacharji was sponsored by S.V.Temple, Pittsburg for two years to do kainkaryam.

He served as a priest in Shri Mandir ,Sandiego From Aug 2004 to Aug 2011. He also participated in Kumbhabhishekam held @ pittsburg in Aug 2008. Presently serving as a priest in Sri Shiridi Sai Sansthan,LA.

He is an expert in performing both temple and home pujas such as Garbhadan,Pumsavana,Seemantham(baby shower) Jathakarma &Namakarnam(naming ceremony),Annaprasanam(first feed ceremony)Choulam(baby hair cut ceremony/Mundan) Aksharabhyasam,Upanayanam(sacred thread ceremony)Vivaham(wedding ceremony) Shastyabdapoorthi shanthi(60th birthday ceremony) shatabhishekam,Shanthi ,Nakshatra shanthi,Sudarshana Homam,Ganapathy Homam,Navagraha Homam,Mrutyum jaya homam.Dhanvantari Homam,Ayushya Homam,Punyaha Vachanam,satyanarayana pooja,lakshmi pooja and others. He is also Knowledgeable in performing other religious rites such as Hiranya shradham and Tarpanam. He knows Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, English and Sanskrit.

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