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Musical Meld of Arts and Spirituality


St. Augustine said that when one sings, one prays twice.

Robert Rios, director of the Turiya Institute, would probably agree.

"We're a nonprofit group that is exploring the commonality between the arts and spirituality," Rios said. "Through the media, we share the spiritual beauty of music."

The institute is having its 10th annual open house and piano students' recital Saturday in Sierra Madre.

Rios said that he is not interested in ramming religion down anyone's throat.

"It's totally universal," he said of the multi-faith organization. "We have everything from fundamentalist Christians to Buddhists."

The more immediate object of the institute is to teach young people how to play the piano, which Rios does in the Sahridaya Studio in Sierra Madre and the Kamala Studio in Orange County. Students from both studios will be represented in Saturday's recital, which will include students from the Fern Rogers Studio.

The recital will feature original works by some of the students. Creating music is "the most spiritual part of the entire program," Rios said. "They (the students) hold up this piece after working on it six to 12 months and they say, 'This is mine.' It's never been heard before in the whole universe."

This year, 30 students, ranging in age from 5 to 22 years, will play short pieces, including works by Bach, Alexander Scriabin and Alberto Ginastera.

"Every year, we have a contemporary composer, and an unknown or neglected or unheard composer. Then, of course, there's always Bach," Rios said.

The free recital will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bethany Church, 93 N. Baldwin Ave. The open house will follow at the Sahridaya Studio, 170 E. Alegria Ave.

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