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Date: January 15, 2008

Chantfest Victoria - A Musical Celebration Of Spirit

The melodic and meditative practice of chanting is a ritual shared by many of the world’s faiths and traditions. Members of the public are invited to experience and share in this expression of spirituality during ChantFest Victoria on Sunday, Feb. 10 at Cadboro Bay United Church, 2625 Arbutus Road from 2 to 9:30 p.m. The University of Victoria’s Interfaith Services is among the sponsors of the city’s first inter-spiritual chant festival.

Inspired by similar chant festivals in Vancouver, a group of volunteers has been working since September to bring local chant leaders together and introduce the public to the wide variety of devotional singing that takes place in our community. Coordinator Dacia Moss describes ChantFest as “a joyful community event where participants can experience the common spirituality at the heart of the many chant traditions practiced in Victoria.”

Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds. Chanting mantras or the name(s) of the Divine is an ancient spiritual practice common to many faiths and traditions. They consider chanting, individually or in groups as a route to spiritual development. World chants come in all styles—meditative, ecstatic, lively and serene. They are beautiful, melodic and easy to learn.

The ChantFest program will include John Elliott (First Nations), Fran Pollet (Christian–Taizé), Carol Sokoloff (Sufi), Hannah Tiferet Siegel (Jewish) and Nancy Watters (Bahá’í and multifaith traditions). Each will lead a participatory chant workshop and all will contribute their talents to an Evening Chant Celebration.

Victoria’s first inter-spiritual chant festival is jointly sponsored by the University of Victoria’s Interfaith Services, the Sacred World Song Project, Ewart Media and Cadboro Bay United Church. Proceeds will benefit the Victoria Multifaith Society in support of its mission to create interfaith understanding.

Although many people worry that they don’t know how to chant or sing, chant leader Nancy Watters, a ChantFest coordinator, advises that no experience is required. “Simply come and experience the rich harmonies, vibrations and rhythms that open the heart to joy and peace,” she says. “You’ll benefit however you choose to participate, whether by listening serenely, humming along, clapping or singing your heart out.” The quality of the experience doesn’t depend on your voice, but on the spirit you bring to it, she adds.

A $45 ChantFest pass includes five workshops, a community dinner, and the Evening Chant Celebration. Student passes are $15 or two students for $25. The deadline for purchasing passes is Feb. 5. Tickets for the evening chant celebration can be purchased separately. Visit www.sacredworldsong.com or call 250-721-8338 for more details.
Media contacts:
Henri Lock 250-721-8338 (UVic Interfaith Services) or hlock@uvic.ca
Dacia Moss 250-588-3922 (ChantFest Co-ordinator)
Nancy Watters 250-595-2142 (Sacred World Song Project)
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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