2009 Melbourne: Artists and Musicians | parliamentofreligions.org
Agape International Choir

A multiethnic group with an average roster of 200 members, the Agape International Choir began with a 30-voice holiday season presentation in December of 1988. With the combined writing and composing talents of music director, Rickie Byars, and founding minister, Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, the choir, early on, began performing original Beckwith/Byars compositions. As the choir has developed and grown in membership, so has the complexity of Rickie Byars's vocal and instrumental arrangements. Over the past six and one-half years, Agape Choir music has become known for its signature sectional harmonies, counterpoint, tempo-patterns, devotional power, and energetic enthusiasm.

Zain Bhikha

Zain Bhikha, born in Pretoria, South Africa is a singer-songwriter who achieved fame as a performer of nasheed songs. Tied to other prominent Muslim entertainers, including Yusuf Islam and Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Bhikha has collaborated with other artists and has released several solo albums as well. He has written several religious albums concerning Islam. Bhikha may best be known outside of the Muslim community along with several backup vocalists and a drummer who were cast as the African singing characters in the popular Disney movie, The Lion King.


Divya Jain

Divya Jain is an accomplished Indian classical dancer and choreographer. Over last 20 years, she has performed in many prestigious cultural, Interreligious and charity events in India and the US. She performed at the Dharma Music Concert at the 2006 Montreal World’s Religions Congress and the 2007 Monterrey World Religions Congress in Mexico. Divya received a Master of Arts degree in Bharat Natyam, a form of Indian classical dance; and several awards from a variety of institutions. She teaches dance at the Creations Dance Academy in Edison, New Jersey and hosts programs on television and radio stations. She has performed with many actors, artists and musicians from Bollywood. She has exposed over 1,000 students to the richness of the Indian dances, heritage, and culture.