Now, twenty-five years later, Baha'i Choral Festivals have been held at three of the Continental Houses of Worship, an international choir was assembled for the dedication of the Temple in Chile, and several events have brought choirs together at the World Centre. The upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of Baha'u'llah is inspiring numerous Baha'i communities to include choral music in their programs. We have received inquiries from choirs asking for the sheet music for O Baha'u'llah, God Is Sufficient Unto Me, and other songs performed at the World Congress. These pieces, originally arranged for performance with an orchestra, have been adaptated as a cappella works, but may have lost something in the process. As this Bicentenary year is increasing the opportunities for singing Baha'i-themed choral music, the music from the World Congress, wonderful as it is, simply does not provide sufficient range and quantity.
Fortunately, growth in Baha'i choirs around the world is fueling a boom in the creation and discovery of new choral works, particularly including a cappella songs based on scripture (a must for singing them in Houses of Worship). On this site alone, we are making available sheet music for nearly 500 songs from composers all around the world.
It makes us wonder about the next generation of favourite choral pieces. There are already some contenders for this honour. From Germany, we have Ameli Dziemba's delightful setting of Alláh'u'Abhá, which has already been performed in at least three of the continental Houses of Worship. Pierre Weber from Kosovo has composed several awesome pieces over the past few years, including the remarkable Light of Unity. Perhaps new favourites will arise from Africa, such as Hannington Mutebi's Nakutonda or one of the many pieces posted on YouTube by the Johannesburg Baha'i Choir. Finland's Yrjö Mikkonen has several standout songs, such as his Rejoice, which we just performed at the 2017 Australian Baha'i Choral Festival. We'd love to see some Australian compositions make the list, and there is excellent music coming from composers in Asia and both North and South America as well.
Wherever the next generation of favourites comes from, we're greatly looking forward to the increased diversity and choice that will come from composers old and new. Everybody loves to hear old favourites, but it is only with new offerings that both audiences and choristers will continue to find vibrant life in Baha'i choral music. Bring on the new to supplement the old!