6-14 September 2014
The inspiration for the Oneness-Dream tour came, naturally enough, from Sri Chinmoy. When I took on the challenge of organising it, my first thought was to follow the same path as the Iceland – most of the spiritually significant spiritual sites in Scotland are quite difficult to get to, abandoned, off the beaten track – that meant no possibility of attracting audiences, just pilgrimage pure and simple, with, again like Iceland, perhaps one or two public concerts.
I think Sri Chinmoy had other ideas and that’s why Brother Stephen became the catalyst for a different sort of tour. It was really encouraging and inspiring to see the galvanising effect that the planning of the tour had on him. At first, I bobbed along on the backwash of that enthusiasm, but gradually it changed my ideas on how the tour should develop.
Engaging with the different communities, having to go and talk to them about Sri Chinmoy and the unique spiritual legacy of his songs, became truly inspiring in itself, regardless of outcome. Although Oneness-Dream sang at 15 different sites we approached many more and had very positive experiences even when dates and times could not be matched up and no concert took place.Indeed, while I can claim credit for landing many of the bigger fish (Iona, Rosslyn, Findhorn), the singers should be grateful that Stephen paid almost fanatical attention to journey times, accommodation and restaurants. It was a true partnership and one that stretched my capabilities in a way that Sri Chinmoy would have approved of. The seeds have now been sown for future activities across Scotland.
– Adarsha S. Kelly
Additional reading: Stephen Smyth’s report >
Day-by-day tour schedule, photos and recordings
Sunday: September 7th
The Mandir, Glasgow, 1pm
Oneness-Dream was fortunate enough to celebrate Ganesh Puja with the Hindu community in Glasgow. The temple used to be the recording venue for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and is situated in the west end of the city.
Gorbals Church, Glasgow
The choir sang in this modern Church of Scotland church on the south side of Glasgow. The minister, Iain Galloway, was Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 2003 and spoke out against the Iraq war.
Monday: September 8th
Whithorn Priory, 11.30am
The Choir visited the south-west corner of Scotland and sang on the site of the original church (Candida Casa) that St. Ninian built in around 500 CE. The singers also sang in the crypt of the nearby priory. From the church there are views of the Isle of Man, Cumbria and Norhern Ireland.
Samye Ling, 3.45pm
Founded in 1967, the centre is situated in a peaceful valley on the banks of the river Esk. Kagyu Samye Ling is the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to be established in the west. After the concert the singers were shown round the temple by one of the monks.
Rosslyn Chapel, 7.30pm
Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by William Saint Clair as a place of worship and services continue to be held there weekly. By the late 18th century its fame had spread and visitors came from far and wide. Its profile greatly increased after the publication of Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code and the subsequent film. The mystical atmosphere of the chapel made a profound impression on many of the singers.
Tuesday: September 9th
St. Mungo’s Cathedral, Glasgow, 9am
St. Mungo, the patron saint of the City is said to have founded a church on the site of the present day cathedral in the 6th century. The first stone-built cathedral on the site was dedicated in 1136 in the presence of David 1st of Scotland. The choir were welcomed by the minister and sang at the top of the nave near the West Door.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, 10am
In contrast, this light and airy building had only recently been refurbished and the singers enjoyed singing in these beautiful surroundings on the banks of the River Clyde. The priest gave an inspiring welcome to the choir and confessed to being moved by the singing.
St. Ninian’s Episcopal Church, Glasgow, 11am
This 19th century church on the south side of the city is beautifully appointed and was an inspiration to sing in.
The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow, 11.45am
When these spiritual gardens were first opened in 2003, the British Sri Chinmoy disciples provided the entertainment through music and song. The first ever Sri Chinmoy Rose is planted here and the Hidden Gardens have remained a place of quiet and contemplation ever since.
Kilmartin Church, 4pm
Set on a hill in Argyll and Bute, the church dates to 1835 and is surrounded by over 350 neolithic standing stones and hedges, showing that worship in the glen goes back some 5000 years. The church is plain and austere but wonderful to sing in. In the churchyard the choir also sang in the lapidary where a collection of medieval burial slabs are kept.
Wednesday: September 10th
Iona Abbey, 11am
Founded almost 1500 years ago, Iona is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was the focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland (and through England to mainlined Europe). It was founded by the Irish monk St. Columba in 563 AD. Many of the best recordings of the tour came from the performance in this cradle of Christianity.
St. Oran’s Chapel, Iona, 11.30am
Also on the Island of Iona, the little chapel of St. Oran proved to have a marvellous acoustic. In the graveyard around it are the mortal remains of 48 kings of Scotland, 8 kings of Norway and 4 kings of Ireland.
Friday: September 12th
Pluscarden Abbey, 10am
Pluscarden Abbey, in the Moray countryside, is the home of a community of Catholic Benedictine monks. It is the only medieval monastery in Britain still inhabited by monks and being used for its original purpose. The monks sing Latin Mass and Gregorian chant daily, and they proved to be an appreciative audience for the singers.
The Findhorn Foundation, 12 noon
The Findhorn Foundation is a spiritual community, ecovillage and international centre for holistic learning, helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future. The community grows much of its own food and the singers had a wonderful lunch before singing to the community members. The community members then sang to Oneness-Dream.
Sri Chinmoy Centre, Edinburgh, 7.30pm
Oneness-Dream enjoyed this concert as it marked the point where – after taking Sri Chinmoy’s music to multi-cultural Scotland, to diverse and appreciative audiences the length and breadth of the country – we could sing to our own folk and celebrate a wonderful experience.