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Annamayya Utsavam At Bellingham High School


04/20/2017

Sruthilayalu, a fledgling organization started to promote Carnatic music skills and awareness, including closely related art forms like Kuchipudi, among the local Indian, especially Telugu, community, presented its maiden program on April 16th at Bellingham High School. The presentation received critical acclaim and was a great debut that brought together many like-minded people under one roof.

The program was titled ‘Padakavitha Pitamaha Annamacharya Utsavam’ and showcased the compositions of the genius 15th century composer through group singing (Samishti ganam), Kuchipudi dance (Annamacharya Vaibhavam) and vocal performances by local students.

The Samishti ganam was a grand affair comprising around 200+ singers, an ensemble orchestra on-stage, and featured “Saptagiri Sankeertanams”, a set of seven compositions of Annamacharya. This format was conceived on the lines of Tyagaraja Utsava Sampradaya celebrations, and was actively supported by prominent music gurus such as Annavarapu Ramaswamy Garu, Balakrishna Prasad Garu, Shobha Raju Garu in India. For several months, the 200+ dedicated participants had been practicing these keertanas in local groups throughout New England, devoting several long hours under guidance of local leads. It was a great effort with all artistes and enthusiasts (many of them first-timers) singing in sync with the orchestra. Well-known singing duo, the Darbha sisters (Harini and Mruduravali), led the unified rendition.

This was followed by a brilliant Kuchipudi dance ballet called Annamayya Pada Vaibhavam in true Kuchipudi style. It was a nice potpourri of Keertanams interspersed with narrative commentary by Sri. Sreenivasa Rao Devarakonda. Sri. Srinivas Balabhadrapatruni played the role of Annamacharya on stage, with live singing synced up with the beats of nattuvangam, true to the Kuchipudi style of incorporating Nritta, Nritya and Natya (with Vachakabhinaya) all in equal measure. The student dancers led by the well-known Kuchipudi guru Smt. Prafulla Velury of Rhode Island demonstrated excellent abhinaya and on-stage coordination. The performance peaked when the team went into detailed Sanchari Bhavas narrating the story of Prahlada and Narasimha-Avirbhaava around the phrase ‘Naramruga Sareera Namo’ in the Keertana ‘Narayana te namo namo’. The program ended with the description of various vahana–sevas of Lord Sreenivasa and an amazing portrayal of Sreenivasa Kalyanam. A presentation of this nature requires great coordination, practice and talent and it deserved every bit of the thunderous applause that came its way.

The whole event had  complete meaning when local Telugu Teachers around New England area gathered and rendered the sweetest genres of Sri Annamayya garu. The efforts are not made just to promote the experts but to bring music to every house hold as much as possible regardless of age, expertise level so the generations here will immerse in the age-old music is therapeutic phenomena and learn to love music. Earlier, the admin team spoke about the goals and vision of Sruthilayalu (which already has an anthem written for it too!!). For a first presentation, the organization has set its standards high and we hope this grows in quality and participation of the greater Boston community.

All of this was possible with the help and intergration with Maanavaseva, the non profit organization lead by Sastry Dwivedula garu. Part of the evening proceeds went to Maanavaseva.

Reviews:

Padmaja Mahavadi (Lexington):  

Being part of the first ever Annamacharya Aradhanothsavalu in Greater Boston area  has been a memorable journey of music, devotion and spirituality. This unique event brought together 200 music enthusiasts who built lifelong friendship with each other through this musical journey. Hoping that this successful event will inspire Telugu community throughout United States to come together for a much grandeur musical experience in the future.

Vanaja Sankara (Shrewsbury):

About 200 + music enthusiasts, lovers and experts came onto one stage to sing great Saint Sri.Annamacharya Sankeerthanas on Lord Venkateswara. Several months of practices, dedication and devotion from the participants only made this event so successful.a great support from local music teachers and coordinators, showcased how a community can come together and united in displaying the love towards the classical music. Thanks to each and every person who was part of this program.

Ramana Duggaraju(Nashua): The program was started with a prayer on lord Ganesha followed by the singing of seven songs called Saptagiri Sankeertanas by composer Annamacharya. Almost two hundred people sung these Saptagiri Sankeertanas with devotion and strictly adhered to original compositions. The performance absolutely filled the auditorium with a spiritual and devotional ambiance. The program truly reflected the dedication and collective effort in practicing put by the participants.The composer Annamacharya is said to compose 32000 compositions in praise of lord Venkateswara. Organizers thought of giving tribute to his work by performing at least 32 compositions during the entire event. The event gave an opportunity to many local singers with hidden talent to perform and provided a platform for all with similar interests in classical music and dance.

Subrahmanyam Karedla (Nashua):

"The musical feast organized by SrutiLayalu was one of the most large-scale group recitation in the recent history in Boston area. Having 200 singers on the stage singing 7 of 35,000 songs of Annamaya (Sapta girulu) representing the seven hills of Tirupati  for about an Hour as per Carnatic music was like river Ganga flowing through the Himalayas freely and it immersed all the audience and singers themselves in the divine flood of bliss. Doing all this for nothing in return except for good humanitarian cause was like diamonds studded golden ornament given to Lord SriVenkatewara. I thank all the organizers for the great effort with very good intensions."

Sarada Prakki (Franklin):

Entire Journey of Sapthagiri Sankeerthanalu was a wonderful blissful experience.. Each session when singing together in a group I used to feel like I was getting closer to God lord Venkateswara especially whenever I used to sing Narayanathe Namo Namo..Vedhodhara Tituvenkata Nayaka I cannot express in words the blissful and the divine environment that got created.. As each one of the singers were totally involved the environment that got created was equivalent to koti archanas that are performed in the temple positive energy on the performance day.. Thanks for making me part of this wonderful effort of Samoohika Archana to Venkateswara in the form of Sapthagiri Sankeethanas group singing...A wonderful not in words expressed beautiful Endeavor!!!

Editor: Durga Devarakonda

Report Writers: Srimati. Santhi Pasumarthi , Sri. Subrahmanyam Karedla, Srimati. Vanaja Shankara, Srimati. Padmaja Mahavadi, Sri. Ramana Duggaraju 



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