"Joy of Life Culture Festival" in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
On August 6, 2006, 1,200 SGI-USA members and friends in the Southeastern Region attended the "Joy of Life Culture Festival" held at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia. The festival consisted of twenty performances organized into four acts: "The Origins of Art," featuring art from around the world; "American Legacy," featuring diverse nationalities, languages and cultures that have contributed to American music; "The Studio," presenting youth performers; and "Street Party," an upbeat hip-hop music and dance number. Performers included professionals and non-professionals; parents and children; new and long-term SGI-USA members.
Bradley Yeates danced with Judy Zwick, his dance instructor. They had performed together in an SGI event six years ago, when Mr. Yeates first introduced Ms. Zwick to Nichiren Buddhism. She joined SGI this year. Mr. Yeates commented that the event was not primarily a talent show but an opportunity to develop one's faith, encourage others, show the healing power of art and introduce new friends to Nichiren Buddhism.
SGI-USA Vice Men's Leader Buster Williams, renowned jazz bassist and SGI-USA Arts Division Advisor congratulated everyone, saying, "The power of life's potential was just expressed here.... This was a display of the brilliant victories of your lives."
DeVonne Sturdivant and her daughter, Summer, from North Carolina, have both recently joined SGI-USA (in May 2006). Ms. DeVonne stated, "An amazing energy just flowed through every performer."
[Adapted from an article in the December 1, 2006 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA]