The Western Music Choir Concert, Resonance 2019, was held on November 25. It was the jubilant culmination of the year-long Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon Choir Program.

The audience buzzed, itching for the concert to begin. Backstage, the atmosphere was slightly different - the choir students were sat in a group, tense yet cheery. All clad in red and black, they encouraged one another as they waited for the show to begin.

Outside, concert manager Reva Bharti takes the stage. “‘Music brings people together. No matter what language we speak, what community we belong to, the form of our politics or the expression of our love, music proves that we are all the same,’” she begins, quoting John Denver. The audience immediately quietens down.

The Western Music Choir at Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon was conceptualized to bring together the best musical talent and facilitate them into creating a unified community of performers, irrespective of age, background or musical taste.

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Making up the choir is 44 passionate students from Grade 5 to Grade 11. They come out in full force for the first performance of the afternoon with a spirited rendition of "I’m On My Way". "I don’t know where I’m going, but I know what to do!", they sing, with the sort of talent that completely defies their tender age.

We are then treated to performances by the students in smaller groups of fours and fives. Spanning genres and styles, they take the audience through ballads such as "Falling Slowly", classics like “Hey Jude” and inspirational pieces such as "I Hope You Dance", "A Million Dreams", "We Could Fly" and an original song composed by music mentor Ms Manta Sidhu, "Rise".

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They prove that their musical skills know no barrier even when it comes to language, showcasing their expertise in the French classic “La Vie En Rose”, the Spanish “Mil Pasos” and the closing number, an African/Swahili piece “Ingoma” for which the choir comes out in full force once again.

The students on stage perfectly capture the spirit of the Western Music Choir Program. For them, it isn’t just about honing their skills in music alone. In their journey, they are encouraged to move far beyond their comfort zones and develop skills that, in the beginning, may seem out of their horizon - be it in terms of their vocal range, their capacity to learn vocal harmonies under a time crunch or keeping up with their rigorous practice schedule even at the end of the most exhausting school days. They are also encouraged to learn and perform songs in foreign languages not only to expand their knowledge in music, but also in a bid to enhance their ability to embrace other cultures.

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As a part of the choir, students get familiar with a wide variety of musical styles with the intention of broadening their sensibilities as musicians. In addition, they also get the opportunity to explore their potential as solo performers, with parts assigned on the basis of their individual singing styles, vocal ranges and voice modulation skills. Above and beyond, the SNS Choir Program has always sought to create an environment that helps develop the spirit of team work, good will and Kindliness.

During the concert, we are treated to thirteen songs in total. One of the highlights of the evening is a moving rendition of "Sleepsong Lullaby" performed by the choir. The audience sits utterly enraptured throughout. Another high point is “Ingoma”, as the choir sings with an infectious energy and zeal - the passion in their performance evident for all to experience as the choir sways in unison, one with the rhythm.

Music mentor Ms Manta Sidhu is sat in the audience too, right at the front, on her knees almost throughout the concert. Her commitment and devotion is immediately obvious as she lovingly conducts the choir, encouraging the students where they may hesitate and cheering them on through their performances.

The evening concludes with a thank you address from Ms Sidhu, closing words from Ms Monica Sagar, Prinicipal, Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon and certificates distributed to all the choir members. Grade 9 vocalist and pianist Sparsh Jha was awarded Performer of the Year, to thundering applause and cheers from both the audience and his peers.

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Reva once again takes the stage as she closes the evening with a befitting quote from American Author Henry van Dyke. “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there, except for the ones that sang best.” Indeed, words to live by.

Dec 4, 2019 by Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon