CHENNAI: It’s a little difficult to imagine a 10-year-old from a Government School belting out Besame Mucho on a cello. But at the Sunshine Orchestra’s first major public performance in Mylapore next week, expect anything but the ordinary. The concert on Friday, part of the Fete De La Musique will draw music lovers and a liberal number of expats. “So yes, this is a big for the kids,” smiles Adam Greig, academic coordinator of the KM Music Conservatory, where the students practice every day.
A long-time project of AR Rahman’s that began with just a handful of students from the MGR Higher Secondary School opposite his house four years ago, the orchestra now has close to 40 youngsters from schools in Kodambakkam. “They come by every morning for an hour before school for a session to our old KM campus,” says their conductor Srinivasa Murthy. If you don’t recognise the name, this is the man that Rahman has trusted with his scores for over two decades now. And starting off simple, this all-student orchestra has been trained in only stringed instruments so far, ranging from the violin to the cello to the double bass. He adds proudly, “Now these students learn at KMMC full time, some of them have even started recording with us for films!” What’s commendable here is that most of these teens started out never having touched a music instrument before! If all this isn’t impressive enough already, Adam tells us that the orchestra recently signed on with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. “We’re in talks with them to send some of their graduates to Chennai to teach the kids,” he says. “Hopefully, this section will be up and running by September this year.” Oh and if you’re wondering what’s lined up - he parts with these names with some reluctance, “Romanza (Andrea Bocelli), Radetzky March (Johann Strauss) and of course some of Rahman’s compositions as well…but I don’t want to give too much away.”