“Western Australian musical director Greg Parker (1955-2014) started The New Era Bahá’í Choir about three decades ago. His intention was to bring together a group of ordinary people from very diverse backgrounds, united by their common interest in using music and song to uplift the hearts and promote the ideal of the oneness of humanity. In the last 4 years of his life, Greg battled terminal cancer, yet he produced and directed 5 shows during that period. His last show, From Our Hearts to Yours, was held just 5 weeks before he passed away in May 2014, and his inspiring story was featured on ABC TV’s 7.30 Report on the eve of the concert.
From Our Hearts to Yours 2015 is the New Era Choir’s dedication to his memory, and their first concert since Greg’s passing last year. Below is a personal account of his passing, written by his wife, Malini Parker.”
Greg passed away Friday May 16th at 8.07pm. It was just four years short of the day he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The actual moment was completely peaceful. I was next to him, adjusting his position to make him more comfortable. His head was tilted toward me. He stopped breathing quietly. I felt his pulse and could not detect one. The Silverchain nurse was there for a regular visit and she confirmed immediately that he had died. Extended family and friends were in the adjoining room and garden. I beckoned only his daughters, Mary and Rachel, into the room and the 3 of us held each other and wept and prayed. We were alone with him for some time, the room was softly lit with many candles flickering around us.Then the nurse and I prepared his body for the others to pay their respects. She said it was the most peaceful passing she had ever witnessed. All who were gathered were Greg’s family, whether related by blood or not. Each in turn said their final goodbyes in prayer and song. For the next few hours we cried, laughed, ate and cried some more. And all over Perth and in other parts of the world, the word had spread instantly through the Baha’i community that they had lost their beloved brother.
For twenty-eight years, I had the privilege of sharing The Adventure that was Greg Parker. We came together through his matchless music, we tried our best to raise his two beautiful daughters, Rachel and Mary, we fought and laughed and traveled and cried. I admired his scholarship, his unshakeable faith, his valour, and his genius. I tolerated his unashamed geekiness I was in awe of the grace with which he bore the incredible hardship of his long illness, the gradual loss of independence, the unbearable pain, the complete uncertainty. But most of all, I was honoured to bear witness to his deep, unswerving desire to be of service to others, right until the very end. And Gregory, you really were.
The beautiful programme of his funeral service can be downloaded by clicking here.
Dearest Malini, thank you for sharing these two precious and delighful songs today. Your generosity, steadfastness and love shines beyond measure. As I returned home today I really wanted to hear these two songs again, right now, tonight. Oh what a gift to find them on the New Era Baha’i choir’s website. Songs that will live forever in so many hearts ! You inspire us to continue the journey with great warmth and beauty. Thank you, thank you.
Oh my God, I have just learned of Greg’s passing. I can not believe that so much time has passed so quickly. It seems like yesterday I was reading one of his emails back to me filled with love and helpful information. As Producer, and up until recently, Director of The Baha’i World Choir, over to short a period of time, we shared with one another what projects we were working on and our approaches to working with our choirs to get the most from the experience for our audiences. He was a master-craftsman of his stock and trade. I instantly fell in love with Greg as one man can love another, and that is doing so and never meeting him, his persona was so strong that it came over the air from Perth to Minnesota like a warm loving wind. He will be incredibly missed by all those whose hearts he touched. I just hope that the choir continues. My compassion and love goes out to all of the group. Ya’Baha’u’llab-ha.
God Bless you Greg!! Keep rocking in all the valleys of God