Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright, the open space echoed with the voices of over a hundred last Sunday at the Phoenix Market City, singing along with the Shillong Chamber Choir Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
If you watch India’s Got Talent (IGT), you would recognise the choir in a heartbeat. Winners of the 2010 season, they came down to Chennai to perform for the third time. I can say it was a night they wouldn’t forget. Chennai’s own Senorita danced to their voices in the aisle, a group of Israelis grooved to the music in a corner, people watched from balconies and the others bore no complaints for having to stand for hours. Requests piled in from all corners making William laugh and say, “You guys are merciless!”
Right before their performance, we caught hold of William to talk to us about their journey from 2001 till date. How have they to stuck together for years without letting ego clash? After all, it is a group of over 10 artists.
“The choir was first formed in 2001 and it disbanded for several reasons. We started out again in 2006 without any selfish efforts. I mean, try sticking together if there is envy, jealously and backbiting between artists...not possible. Our choir is about togetherness, that is our philosophy,” said William.
Donna, is the only one from the initial choir group that came back in 2006. She had realised that she belonged there. The initial few years was a lot of hard work. “To achieve anything in life, you have to stick together and not give up. We spent a lot of time building a strong foundation, learning the basics of western classical music. Sometimes, we would randomly wake up by 4:30am, pick up a 15th Century piece and do an accapella. It helps us to blend our voices. We also did a lot of cardio, studying, brainstorming, composing and recording. Soon after, IGT happened,” he smiles. William wasn’t a part of the choir during IGT, as he was studying music abroad.
By this time, a couple of years prior the performance, the band was already popular with the cord, waiting impatiently. You would have had a lot of crazy fans while you tour, right? William laughed a while and said, “After IGT, we were driving on the road in Guwahati. There were fans screaming all around us. Daman, our choir member had his hand stuck out and suddenly he finds a ring being slipped on his finger. He was officially betrothed,” he laughed.
Shillong Chamber Choir was founded in 2001 by Neil Nongkynrih. They call him Uncle Neil and turns out, he is the biggest prankster of the group. “Ryan, who is the youngest, is actually the father of the group. He is very protective of our girls. And the most sincere, I should say is Ibarisha. It is fun to be part of our group. We sing, laugh, travel and have fun together.”
True to those words, the stage was alive with synchronised voices. The Shillong Chamber choir is a dedicated group of singers who are faithful to each other, and well, that paid off really well, didn’t it? After all this, fans are now eagerly waiting for a film that is based on the choir.