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IANH Vasant Festival 2019

Jyoti Sharma

On May 25, 2019, at Nashua High School North, many family, friends, and participants from across the New England enjoyed one of the most eminent cultural festivals and competitions of the spring: the Indian Association of New Hampshire’s Vasant Festival. A total of 400 participated in the music and dance performances, as well as the art exhibition. The event was attended by about 1200 people. IANH is known for its continuous support for Local Charity for soup kitchens and helping in Nashua Children’s home and other charity work like fundraising raising activities and helping the community members in need locally and globally. 

The program started with the instrumental music and progressed to the classical and non-classical music and dance performances. Participants had the option to enter in either competitive and/ or non-competitive through age groups that included everyone. In the classical dance competition the audience witnessed the beauty of the Mudra, Rasa and Intricate dance gestures in different dance forms like light, semi-classical and classical dances that depicted the drama and music in one package. On the other hand, the Music performers performed at their best to awe the audience while the art exhibition was a colorful display of the beautiful world around. 

The Grand sponsors were Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Gold sponsor was Ms. Kanchan Thareja of New York life who also did a New York Life Raffle at the end of the show to announce the lucky winner. The ethnic Indian food was served by Unnati’s Cafe and Gurnam’s Catering. There were various vendor tables who exhibited the apparels and crafts from India. The Stage was gleaming with the glamorous decorations in white and gold with multi colored flowers garland to build a perfect ambiance of the spring festival thanks to Aneesha Karody of Tarana Om Creations who put in lots of efforts to come up with an elegant stage embellishment. 

The Judges for the competitions found it hard to judge due to the extraordinary quality of competitions. Highly accomplished music performers - Ms. Vaushnavi Kondapalli, Mr. Prashant Soni and Ms. Sudha Subaraman Judged the music segment. The Art competition was judged by much sought after artists - Ms. Sunanda Sahay and Ms. Geetanjali Srivastava.

The dance competition was judged by very well-known dance performers from the Greater Boston area-  Ms. Hema Iyengar, Ms. Shikha Bajpai, Ms. Padma Loganathan, Ms. Pallavi Nagesha and Ms. Anandini Sekhar.  In the Fundraising effort by IANH youth group and IANH Volunteers - a check of $1000 was handed out to Mr. Mohanty and the exec members of Odisha Society of New England for those affected by Hurricane Feni back in India. 

It takes a village to move the mountain, and it did take a group of enthusiastic volunteers to run a show at its best. Thanks to the the IANH executive committee who worked diligently to put together the vibrant vasant festival. Thanks to IANH youth volunteers, community volunteers and the IANH exec team members - President Balaji Radakrishnan, Vice-President Manoj Chourasia, Secretary Dr. Tej Dhakar, Public Service chair Barinder Ahluwalia, Exec Member and Technical Team Ashish Bhardwaj, Education Chair Prasad Dabbi, Treasurer Anand Thippeswamy, PR Chair Nagendra Bhanu, Cultural Chair Jyoti Sharma, Web Master Aravind Reddy, Membership Chair  Vandana Dhakar,  Soup kitchen coordinator and EC member Subrahmanyam Karedla, Youth Group Chair Sushmitha Krovi-Anand and EC member and Vendor Coordinator  Parvathi Rao - to help execute the whole show smoothly. Mr. John Frenzini and his staff helped with Sound and Stage management to run the full day show without any hitch. 

A BIG Congratulations to all the participants who worked very hard to give their best. The following were the winners  

Art Competition 

The halls of the venue were decorated with the art exhibition, which bore talent from sub-junior through senior categories.  Sub-Junior Viaan Agarwal won 1st with his piece Power of Woman, while Vidula Marathe enjoyed 2nd place with her piece Butterfly in flower garden. In the Junior category, Shreyas Satyanageeswaran received the first prize for his Coffee Painting, while second prize went to Rithika Saravanan’s Snowcap Mountain Scenery and third prize to Mrithula Prechanth’s Humming Bird. Moving on to the more intricate intermediate category, 1st prize was awarded to Anushal Pastogi’s Spanish Village Scenery, 2nd prize was given to Sadhavi Radhav, and 3rd prize was granted to Charvi Ankem. Finally, the Senior artists’ first and second prizes were awarded to Keerthi Allam’s Parthasarthi and Suruchi Sinha’s Ballerina respectively.

Music Competition:

 Music performances of the Vasant Festival ranged from Classical to Nonclassical, for both instrumentalists and vocalists from age categories Junior to Adult. In the Junior instrumental category, first place, second place, and third place went to Nikhil Shokeen, who played Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jana Sanam on Guitar, Nivaan Gandhi, who played Indian & American Music on Piano, and Muralini Mohan, who played a Medley on Piano. In the intermediate category, Sachit Kurup won first with his Flute Solo on Moh Moh Ke Dhaage. The Senior category had first and second prize winners for the A.R. Rahman Medley, performed by Taniya Nambiar, Sachit Kurup, Mathew Alex, Narayam Sanjeev, and Nile Nile Ambar Par, played by Jai Kulkarni on guitar.

Classical vocal prizes went to the Junior first prize winner Sachit Kurup, who sang Bhogeedra Shaayanam, the Intermediate first place winner Sunthriivi Venkat, who sang Thillana in Dhanashree Om Adi Tala, and second place winner Sowmya Dharani, who sang Vasudevayani on Kalyani, and the Senior first prize winner Rucha Dave, who sang Mori Araj Suno. Non-classical singers included all categories from Junior to Adult. Junior winners included first place Adik Nair, for his Ekdantaya Vakratunda performance, as well as second place Sanaa Mahesh, for singing Kanne Kadaimaane. The first place Intermediate category winner was Sunthriiwi Venkat, who sang Kanna Kanne. The first place Senior category winner was Rucha Dave, who sang Jaane Kya Baat Hai. The adult category offered first prize to Suruchi Sinha for her Saibo Shor in the City performance, and second prize to Sapan Saxena and Suruchi Sinha for their Yeh Hasseen Vaddiyaan performance. 

Dance Competition

The Vasant Festival featured its dance performances for the hours following the music category. Starting off the classical dance category, the Junior category presented first place winners Aarna Puvvala, Avni Gauri Nagaraj, Dhwani Mandavia, Sonia Kelkar, and Teresa Mathew, who danced to Mallari, choreographed by Mrs. Neha Parikh. Under the Intermediate category, dancers Smrithi Senthil, Bineeta Iqbal, Amulya Kalidindi, Tara Kurup, and Preesha Chatterjee won first place for their Ananda Narthana Ganapathi, while dancers Hridya Eipe, Smrithi Meenan, Josephine Mathew, Anusha Chandrasekhara, and Deetya Nagri enjoyed second place for their Pushpanjali to Durga/ Saraswathi, both dances choreographed by Mrs. Neha Parikh as well. The third prize winners under the intermediate category were Meenakshi Dwaraka, Gopika Nair, Avani Shettigar, Shreeya Menon, Hannah Jacob, Hannah Shiby, and Liya Liju, who danced as the Soukarnika Group under Mrs.Sheetal Dwaraka. Lastly, the Senior category winners were Damini Singh, Shreya Nagari, Aarohi Dasari, Anjana Devi Govindaraj, and Nitya Arunm, who all performed a Bho Shambho dance choreographed by Mrs. Neha Parakh.
At last, the most high traffic category of the evening was the non-classical dance, which had plenty of participants from sub-junior to adult age groups. In sub-junior, first prize was awarded to dancers Arya Biju, Anaya Susan John, Anika Manikandan, Juana Sara Prakash, Laasya Gaddam, Mehek Pant, Tanya Sreejith, Vedhanshi Arya, and Zoey Shiju, who all delivered Mrs. Nipuna Shiju’s choreography of Gen Z Mohinis by Chili Flakes. Second prize was awarded to Jumping Jacks dancers Aaroh Nair, Sai Tanush Gaddipati, Advik Shaurya Chindam, Saketh Parisa, and Shrithik Pathapati, choreographed by Mrs. Arpita Kulkarni. 
The first prize for Junior non-classical dance was awarded to the Nashua Sithras: Meenakshi Dwaraka, Thara Mary Paul, Avani Shettigar, Zoha Noufal, Mithra Senthilraja, Nitya Punnose, Bhavya Aeron, Aarnav Palawat, Pragnya Aeron, John Prakash Nadavallil, Manya Patel, Hrimaya Patel, Emma Patel, Krish Parmar, Milan Joby, Kailash Venkatesan, Arvind Venkatesh, Sophie Rana, and Vismay Prasad, and their choreographer Mrs. Sheetal Dwaraka. The second prize of the same category went to Dancing Flames: Avighna Deshwal, Riya Liju, Amisha Porwal, Khanak Baxi, Isabelle Shiju, Sofia Binu, Sneha Punnoose, Krupa Annie Vinu, Mysha Saiyed, and their choreographer Mrs. Suman Punia. Finally, third prize was granted to the Shiv Tandav dance by Nivethas Dance Crew, choreographed by Mrs.Nivetha R and performed by Rashmi Nandana Konaparthi, Sai Eesha Gunda, Lakshmi Risha Gunda, Janya Varsani, Krutika Solanki, Kyathin Nannapaneni, and Kalyani Rakesh. 

The competitive intermediate non-classical dance group provided first through third prizes. The first place dance, Bhajarangi Ka Chamakdar, was choreographed by Mrs. Udaya Rani Umesh, and presented by Nina Kaimal, Krishika Karunaharan, Ishaanvi Rajesh, Parthiv Sreekesh, Daivik Pillai, Sandhrika Gopal, Dhwanisree Simon, Cecilia Thomas, Varsha Aravind, Edwin Eldo, Madhav Nair, Pallavi Nair, Neha Ninan, Arlene Chacko, Sharon Alex, Shikha Amin, Keziah Kuriakose, Madhav Girish, and Siddharth Menon. Second place went to Dance of the Divine, a dance performed by Nandana Nair, Nanditha Lajeesh, Meghna Geo, Raika Vinod, Iris Eldo, Saanvi Tiruveedhula, Smrithi Menon, Josephine Mathew, Hridya Eipe, Roseanne Shiju, Shreya Nair, and Ankitha Shaji, under the choreography of Mrs. Meena Unni. The third place went to the Thugs of Hindustan, which included Matthew Alex, Narayan Sajeev, Navein Sribalaharan, Nikhil Shokeen, Hrishikesh Dwaraka, Sajith Kurup, Rohan Sehra, Samya P, Arni Mola, Shreeya Menon, Isabel Rana, Aarushi Deshwal, Saanvi Wadhwa, Mahi Pant, Kirti Das, Ishanvi Sharma, Jairaj Sharma, and choreographer Mrs. Deepa Jacob. 

Senior and Adult age groups for non-classical competitive dances each awarded first and second prizes. Senior first prize winner was Life is Good by Miriam Alex, Adhithi Venkatesan, Shreya Kappala, Anavi Gadari, Gowri Chandran, Sreya Kethi Reddy, Shravya Kethi Reddy, Deetya Buddhineni, Sarala Sharma, Priya Shokeen, Akanksha Vasireddy and choreographer Mrs. Deepa Jacob. Second place went to the Journey of Dance performance presented by Devika Nair, Anna Matthew, Parvathy Sreekanth, Meera Kurup, Jessica Joseph, Anjana Govindaraj, Jonathan Joseph, and Tony Matthew, and choreographed by Mrs. Meena Unni. The Vasant Festival ended with the Adult non-classical section, which had first prize winner Story of Mother choreographed and performed by Mrs. Ekta Jain, as well as Anshika Jain, Devishi Jain, Namya Arora, Mansi Arora, Nitya Nambiar, Ambika Nambiar, Monisha Pendeti, Srinidhi Rameshbabu, Samhita, Sahiti Pogula, Neha kunam, Kanti Singh, Ritu Jain, Mansi Mathur, Sarita Das, Ekta Mathur, Manisha Kumar, and Geetanjali Virmani. The second prize winner was the Mukabula Dance Group, which Sharmili Sitharthan choreographed and danced alongside Radha Rajesh, Shrinivas, Anuja Patel, and Janani Giridhar

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