Aubrey Aloysius, 50, and Lorraine F Aloysius, 44
When Mumbai-based former banker Aubrey Aloysius and wife Lorraine Fiona Aloysius decided to shift to Delhi to propagate music education, family members felt the couple was taking a wrong decision. “They had a different perception of Delhi and thought that our idea of propagating music education won’t be successful here. We were called crazy,” says Aubrey, co-founder of Gurgaon’s Lorraine Music Academy and LAMP Trust.
Today, Aubrey and Lorraine are changing lives through music. Aubrey adds, “Kids from broken families respond beautifully to music. It helps them focus on their studies. Some parents tell us they fear that their teenage children would start taking drugs. The fears subside when music training begins.”
Aubrey was fairly new to Delhi. A visit to India Gate connected him emotionally with the city. “I took a round of the monument and the Amar Jawan Jyoti. It completely changed my life. I got tears in my eyes on reading the names of the WWI martyrs,” he says with a lumpy throat.
Lorraine is a trained pianist from a family of musicians. Her mother Helen D’ Cruz was known in the music industry for her Konkani songs, including the famous track, the peppy “Ye Ye Cathrina”. She says, “Music came naturally to us. My music teacher in Mumbai, Mrs Aida Francis, strengthened my faith in dedicated learning. I wanted to pass on what I had learned. Unlike in Mumbai, music is treated as a disposable extra here. I wanted to change that. There is so much talent in the NCR.”
With a commitment to change the ‘secondary’ attitude towards music, Aubrey and Lorraine started a music academy “in a flat with 10 students and a keyboard” 11 years ago. Aubrey adds, “We wanted to look beyond the Christian and Parsi families which have a strong tradition of music. Today, most of the kids we train come from families with no musical background.” In 2013, Aubrey initiated an event ‘Come India Sing Jana Gana Mana’, encouraging an audience of 2,500 people from urban and rural NCR to sing the National Anthem “the correct way in 52 seconds”, and Vande Mataram.
Gurgaon gave them an open view of the sky which is a luxury in Mumbai. Aubrey adds, “Gurgaon could definitely do well with better performance venues. The few popular venues in Gurgaon are too expensive to hire. Delhi has better facilities to back music and dance performances,” Aubrey concludes. As Lorraine finishes singing and playing “Blue Spanish Eyes” on the piano, Aubrey breaks into a self-composed parody. “Ae dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, zara hatkey, zara bachke, ye hai NCR meri jaan.” He conveniently replaces “Bombay” with “NCR”.