Minstrels of the City

Minstrels of the City

Reaching crescendo

Christmas melody: Capital City Minstrels performing at the event.Suchet Malhotra, percussionist with the choir, was clearly surprised by the massive turnover of the crowd. She says, “It is amazing to see the immense turnout of the people to the extent that the security has to be on their toes to prevent stampede.”

One of the oldest choirs in the City, CCM was founded by Zohra Shaw, Fellow of Trinity College of Music, London, in 1994 with a small ensemble of six to seven singers and performed 12 times in the first Christmas season itself. The choir today blends varied voices from more than 40 members with many accomplished musicians from all walks of life and from around the globe, brought together by their love of music. Usha Shrivastav, has been associated with the choir since its inception.

She recollects the past saying, “In September 1994, Zohra Shaw, my music teacher decided to practice in the evenings at my house since I had a piano. Every session saw the addition of a new member and as the group grew, we practiced at various places. Five years later when Zohra migrated to the US, we were bereft with a conductor and faced a lot of struggle.” Their love for Zohra has been the same as even she kept coming back to the country to see the choir grow every time. Maxwell Pereira, president, CCM, was also enthralled at the overwhelming response of the audience at Habitat. He says, “The language of music has no barriers and falls on every ear. The choir comprises of singers aged from 17 to 80 years! But the kind of response we received was possible only because of an enthusiastic and knowledgeable audience.”

The multiculturalism of the choir has increased its popularity by leaps and bounds. Annie Sinha, secretary of the choir, explains, “The choir members have a great musical spirit and our conductor, Fiona Hedger-Gourlay too, takes a lot of trouble to train us.” The newness of compositions is another reason for the choir’s popularity. “Earlier we used to sing only sacred and classical songs but now our performances also include contemporary and jazz hits,” Annie adds. The group’s presence on social networking websites has made it even more popular as everyone can download their music.

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