Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions Inauguration
March 10, 2011
On March 10, 2011, the Center for India Studies had the pleasure of participating in the inauguration of the new Patel Center for Global Solutions building, home of the new Patel School of Global Sustainability and the USF World initiatives; the inauguration honored donors Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel. The beautiful Patel building has four floors, each named after an element (earth, water, air and fire).
CIS presented the Tampa Bay Indian Community Choir in a choral performance, SRUTI: Power of the Elements.The word sruti refers to ‘what is heard’. The Indian musical system is a sophisticated aural tradition that is over three millennia old. ‘Sruti – Power of the Elements’ is a choral rendition of ancient Sanskrit chants dedicated to the five elements.
The understanding of life as being constituted by the five elements has permeated Indian thought for millennia. In existence today are ancient temples from the 1st millennium dedicated to the five elements.
In her speech, USF President Genshaft aptly described the significance of the Sanskrit peace invocations: “Please listen with your heart as well as your ears. These ancient words and melodies come to us from across cultures and through the ages. They remind us that our enduring quest to live in harmony with the world and with each other must carry on.”
Choral music is a rarity in the Indian musical tradition which focuses entirely on individual self expression. The Western world of music, however, has had a strong choral tradition for centuries both in the liturgical and in the secular domain.
The Indian community choir in Tampa came into being in conjunction with the performance of ‘Chitram – A Portrait of India’ at the Hindu temple (2009) and at the University of South Florida (2010) under the direction of Kanniks Kannikeswaran. As the first artist in residence at the Center for India Studies, Kanniks has worked in nucleating and nurturing this choir. This group of singers represents a wide range of demographics united by a common interest in Indian music and choral singing.