250 voices, 24 choirs, one nation


Twenty four choirs from all over India including Goa have come together as one virtual choir themed ‘Sing for India’ to sing a multi-lingual prayer song. The video will be released today, ie Independence Day. NT BUZZ gets details


Due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions preventing the conducting of a full-fledged choir or any sort of musical performance, most musicians have shifted to recording music in their personal space, and putting together the individual parts to form a virtual band, or choir. And now Classic Hymns from Chennai, along with Indian Christian Association (ICA) and Good Governance Forum (GGF) have organised a virtual choir featuring groups from 24 different states of India. Each state, including Goa has one choir that has sung a part of a song, each in their own regional language.

“For over three months, we have been seeing widespread agony and strife, with chaos and confusion all around. We felt that it would be a good initiative to sing a prayer hymn to encourage those in a helpless state. Hence, the name ‘Sing for India’,” says Binu Thomas of Classic Hymns. The idea, he adds, was to bring together all the Indian states, and to combine talents to put together a song, breaking all barriers of language, which would be a strength and comfort for the people of the nation.

The group chose the evergreen hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’ which was written in 1833 by John Henry Newman, as each line is deep and meaningful especially in the current scenario. The Goan group (which comprises of Meenoskha Dias, soprano; Noemia Da Silva, soprano; Chriselle Mendes, alto; Reanne Da Silva, alto; Neevan Noronha, tenor; Jason Quadros, tenor; Mathew Almeida, bass; and Keith Antao, bass) has sung the lines: “Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on; the night is dark, and I am far from home; lead thou me on.”

The Goan performance, which was conducted by Quadros, was curated by Jeruel Paul who states that the hymn also happens to be one of the favourites of the Father of the Nation -Mahatma Gandhi.

“We decided that it would be best to put this out on Independence Day, as this can be used as a prayer of hope for people of any religion,” says Thomas. The music direction was done by Augustine Paul from Chennai, who has also arranged the parts for each state to sing.

Given that this was a virtual choir, there were a few hurdles in terms of coordination but the group got around this. “We networked with each state and shared the score and music track to sing the hymn in their language,” says Thomas.

Another issue faced by the Goan choir, and a few other states was the task of translating the hymn in the regional language to fit the music score perfectly, and at the same time, not lose the meaning of the lyrics.

“According to the plan, we were supposed to bring the choir together and shoot at a scenic location with the members in their traditional outfits, but this was not possible due to the lockdown and rise in number of positive cases. So, each person recorded themselves individually and we then made a collage video. Over-all, this was a lovely opportunity to come together as one country in all its regional and cultural beauty in a hope to strengthen and comfort the people going through tough times,” says Paul.

(‘Sing for India’ with will be uploaded on YouTube on the Classic Hymns Channel)


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