News Archive

Pathways to Understanding Brings Islamic Poetry, Music to Campus

Student group has long history of promoting understanding, disucssion of Islamic culture

2/18/2008 10:36:39 AM


LYNCHBURG — Randolph College’s student Muslim club, UMMAH, will present “Pathways to Understanding: A Selection of Music and Poetry from the Lands of Islam” on Saturday, February 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Houston Memorial Chapel.

Unlike previous programs, which focused on more serious current issues, Saturday’s program will feature renowned artists sharing Islamic music and poetry.

"This conference hopes to highlight a side of Islamic culture which is not often shown,” said Roya Leavitt, president of UMMAH. “Through this I hope that people will gain better insight into the vast side of Islamic culture which brings entertainment, peace, and joy to so many who listen to it."

A group of students created UMMAH in 2001, shortly before Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as a way to help students on campus understand the Muslim faith and lifestyle. The club’s first public event, an interfaith candlelight vigil, was held the day after the attacks and helped bring students, faculty, staff and the community from all faiths and backgrounds together to mourn for those lost in the Sept. 11 tragedy.

Since that time, the group has become a strong force on campus and in the community and has worked to open and encourage dialogue and defeat stereotypes about the Muslim faith.

UMMAH's first public seminar in 2003 drew nearly 180 participants from the community and focused on encouraging dialogue. The second, held in 2005, explored media images and stereotypes of Islam in America and abroad. A third event, a Town Hall Meeting in 2006, discussed the future of U.S. and Islamic relations.

This fourth event is a chance for the group to share some of the cultural beauty of Islam through poetry and music.

“This is exciting because it highlights beautiful aspects of Islamic culture," said Saara Taylor, vice president of UMMAH. I hope people will come away with a greater appreciation for this style of music and poetry and feel more interconnected to Islamic culture."

Among the list of performers:

Dr. Anne Rasmussen – Associate Professor of Music and

Ethnomusicology at the College of William and Mary

Mr. Sami Abu Shumays – Violinist and Composer

Dr. Anne Elise Thomas – Ethnomusicologist and Educator

Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid – Writer, Lecturer, Poet

Mr. Dilshad Hussain Khan – Internationally recognized, Vocalist, Violinist, Composer, and Musicologist

Bio Information

Ustad Dilshad Hussain Khan

Ustad Dilshad Hussain Khan is an international violinist, composer and musicologist from Pakistan. He comes from seven generations of musicians and has studied and traveled worldwide. He is the five-time winner of the Amir Khusro Award and has composed classical music for radio and television. He was the first chair violinist for the Pakistan National Orchestra (CPU LAHORE) and is the Founder of the Pakistan Chamber Orchestra. He has won the National Award (equivalent to the U.S. Grammy Award) and President Award. He is the only violinist to win the Graduate Award seven times in Pakistan. He has performed in the Royal Festival Hall London, BBCTelevision and radio in Englandas well on television in Scotland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Swedenand India. He has produced music at Oxford, Cambridge, Redford UniversityVirginiaand ColumbiaUniversity. He has also performed on Voice of America Radio, Washington, D.C., local television and all major music festivals around the U.S.A.He is the winner of the Best Musician Award 2001 from the UK, which was held in Symphony Hall, Birminghamon May 9, 2001. He is the only violinist who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Along with the group Asian Heritage, they celebrate the music and heritage of the rich and subtle Indo-Pak sub- continental cult

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations