CHENNAI: After auditions of 500 children from 240 government and NGO schools, 50 were chosen to be a part of a musical venture envisioned by NalandaWay founder Sriram Ayer. His vision was to groom underprivilged kids with musical skills and have them perform and impress audiences.
Well, after three months of hard work, the first ever performance of the Chennai Children’s Choir was held for a packed house at the Tattvaloka auditorium, where the voices of 50 children echoed not only in the auditorium but also in the minds of the audience long after the event ended. The different harmonies in sync, the mild hint of acapella that accompanied the verses sung in different languages were nothing less than ‘wow’.
After their debut performance, we were determined to have a chat with Sriram, the teacher Manjula Ponnapalli and the children themselves. Hurrying past the crowd at the auditorium, City Express caught hold of Manjula. “The kids are very talented. Other than the harmonies, teaching them was simple because they could grasp the melodies and memorise the verses quite easily,” said Manju. Apart from Tamil, they had also sung in Hindi, Telugu and Urdu.
How did they manage that? As a small group gathered around with a lot of enthusiasm, one of them piped, “Oh, it was easy! They would write the words on the board, tell us the meaning for each of the words and we memorised it! Vedanth Bharadwaj (creative director) sir taught us the Hindi songs. Our favourite is Kinare Lagao.” Happy with the thunderous applause they received, the group looked enthusiastic about their slated performance at the Urur Olcott Vizha.
Six children in the group are visually challenged and two have spectrum disorder, but one thing that was common to all was their love for music. “We wanted the choir group to be inclusive. We looked for children with disabilities who had talent we could groom. Our goal is to give a platform for underprivileged children and showcase their talents,” says Sriram who added that the choir would soon be doing a 90-minute show in May, and is also considering a national tour.
They will be performing at the Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha at Besant Nagar Beach on February 28 (Sunday).
Chennai Children’s Choir... sang bhajans of Mirabai, poems of Amir Khusro, and jumpy folksy numbers in Telugu and Tamil. None of them knew Hindi or Telugu before. But they were feisty and fabulous.
A person from the audience told me that he got goosebumps listening to them.
I cried They are performing again at the Urur Olcott Kuppam Vizha, Besant Nagar beach, 6 pm on the 28th of Feb, Sunday Be there. Bring your friends. They are counting on your support — From NalandaWay founder, Sriram Ayer’s, Facebook Profile