Posted by: ourvoicestogether | October 16, 2007

Honoring Daniel Pearl: Using Music To Cross Cultural Barriers

Using Music To Cross Cultural BarriersI was privileged to speak at Cornell last week as part of Alice Cook House’s fourth annual Daniel Pearl Music Day “Harmony for Humanity” celebration. Started by then-Alice Cook House Graduate Resident Fellows Shaffique Adam and Munira Hyder Adam (now both working at the University of Maryland,) this annual event is but one part of a long tradition of Muslim-Jewish interfaith dialogue, joint projects, and celebrations at Cornell. Dean of Alice Cook House and Near Eastern Studies Professor Ross Brann, his wife Eileen Yagoda, Cornell’s Rabbi, and Cornell Muslim student groups actively and mutually build understanding, trust and friendship, day-by-day, semester-by-semester, year-by-year.

Daniel Pearl Music DayLast Thursday the Paul Merrill Trio, featuring Cornell’s own Gussman Director of Jazz Ensembles Paul Merrill along with Ithaca’s legendary jazz guitarist Steve Brown and Miles Brown on stand-up bass, filled the Alice Cook House common room with mellow jazz, creating an atmosphere of reflection and beauty.

As Professor Brann noted, some were there for the jazz, some were there to be part of the worldwide Harmony for Humanity celebrations (this concert was one of over 400 taking place across the world this month,) and some were there for the delicious Alice Cook House desserts. I think most of us were there for all three.

Daniel Pearl Music DayI walked away with the prizes of the night. (Not including the chocolate covered strawberries and cookies I sneaked away in my bag for the drive back to DC.) Steve Brown gave me a copy of his wonderful new CD and Paul Merrill let me have the sheet music of the amazing tune he dedicated to Danny: “Peace” by Horace Silver.

Peace – Find it. Play it. Practice it. Cornell’s talented faculty, staff and students can teach us all a lot about peace, harmony and humanity.



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